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Federal election an opportunity to boost Australia’s digital capacity

ACS urges all political parties to consider importance of technology sector to the nation’s future

 

10 April 2022

·     Calls on Australia’s politicians to think bigger about tech

·     ACS has billion-dollar plan to boost digital skills

·     Canberra election debate to be held on April 12

With today’s calling of the 2022 Federal election, ACS – the professional association for Australia’s technology sector – has urged all political parties and candidates to recognise the importance of the sector to Australia’s economy and society during the campaign.

The statement follows the release of ACS’ Election Platform last month proposing over one billion dollars in programs to boost the diversity of the IT sector, improve technology education, help reskill existing workers and encourage businesses to invest in digital technologies and training.

Dr Nick Tate, ACS President, emphasised that building the nation’s digital skills must be a priority for whoever forms government: “The REDSPICE cybersecurity package in last week’s Federal budget underscores the critical role the sector plays in keeping Australia secure.

“As the past two years have shown, technology is essential in keeping industry and the economy moving, while the plans to build Australian advanced manufacturing and space industries are going to need an increasingly high skilled, digitally literate workforce.

“Our annual Digital Pulse survey forecasts an annual shortfall of 60,000 IT workers and that gap is only going to widen as our need for cybersecurity specialists and other technology professionals increases.

“Addressing this shortfall is necessary to ensure Australia’s continuing security and prosperity which is why our Election Platform last month focused on boosting the supply of digitally skilled workers across the nation, including the regions.

“We urge all parties and candidates running to consider our Election Platform to ensure the continued strength of our economy and to deliver the jobs of the future to all Australians.”

On April 12, ACS will be holding an election debate in Canberra to discuss the importance of the 2022 Election Platform which featured the following nine measures:

1.    A program to boost the technology profession’s diversity and inclusion – Diversity trainee scheme
$500m for a trainee program aimed at women and groups not well represented in the IT sector. The program would provide employees a subsidy of $20,000 for 5,000 places a year over five years.

2.    Encouraging Digital Technology education in schools
A $100m program to boost the resources and support for school teachers to implement the Australian Curriculum Digital Technologies framework.

3.    Boosting the workforce's digital skills
Up to $10,000 per employee tax credit program for businesses providing staff vocational technical training, particularly in areas such as artificial intelligence and cybersecurity.

4.    Strengthen the National Cybersecurity Strategy
To protect Australian cyber infrastructure from foreign and domestic threats, mandate Australian government agencies and suppliers to be compliant with the Essential Eight Maturity Level 2.

5.    A crackdown on spam and scams
A $100m program to eliminate online scams and text messages coupled with stronger requirements for telecommunications operators.

6.    Boost Australia’s regional digital economy
A $500m dollar program to support regional councils and local groups to provide hubs aimed at improving the digital literacy of their communities and local businesses.

7.    Establish a Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology
Create a Commonwealth Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology within the Department of Parliamentary Services to provide MPs and Senators with advice and guidance upon science technology matters.

8.    Create a Cabinet-level Digital Economy portfolio
ACS calls on the next Federal Government to establish a Cabinet-level Digital Economy portfolio to streamline and co-ordinate legislation and regulation.

9.    Establish a commission to evaluate the needs of tomorrow's workforce
ACS proposes an Australia 2040 Commission to evaluate the effects of technological change on the workplace, educational needs and the demands of future society.

The full ACS Election Platform is available here (https://www.acs.org.au/insightsandpublications/reports-publications/2022-federal-election-platform.html).

-ENDS-

Further information

Troy Steer

Director of Corporate Affairs and Public Policy

M – 0417 173 740

E – [email protected]

About ACS

ACS is the professional association for Australia's technology sector. ACS members work across business, education, government, and the community delivering the digital services essential to the nation’s prosperity and security.

ACS exists to create the environment and provide the opportunities for members and partners to succeed. ACS strives for technology professionals to be recognised as drivers of innovation in our society, relevant across all sectors, and to promote the formulation of effective policies on technology and related matters. Visit www.acs.org.au for more information.