Australian scientists welcome boosts in in new federal budget

Aurora Australis

Aurora Australis

"The pace of change we are experiencing as a nation is exponential and we can't afford to be followers in the adoption of [an] emerging technology like Blockchain", CISRO chief Adrian Turner said at the time following comprehensive twin reports by the research agency exploring blockchain use cases in both government and industry.

A $1.9 billion investment in research infrastructure over 12 years will support Australia's world-class research sector which has made breakthroughs like a new needle-free way to deliver vaccines and the cervical cancer vaccine.

The proposals would be supporting new Australian content, innovation, and job creation in the $2.5 billion live industry, which in turn supports 34,000 jobs in metropolitan and regional areas.

"Looking at previous allocations in the budget and looking at them now, we would be hasty in saying that the government is walking away from its infrastructure investment", Russell said.

The tech spend includes $1.9 billion in funding toward Australia's "research infrastructure", which includes a $140 million injection into supercomputing to "advance medical research, nanotechnology, mining, construction and urban planning with high-speed calculations", according to the budget.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull had last week announced a review of the APS to look into whether Australia's government departments are "equipped to engage with the key policy, service delivery, and regulatory issues of the day" in the face of digitisation.

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On the plus side, Bradley did welcome the government's establishment of three funds to address traffic-related infrastructure problems.

"Infrastructure is the bedrock upon which future economic growth will be built, it is critical that Australia keeps investing in activities that boost productivity and create jobs". It also have central oversight of the government's ICT agenda.

Councils have called on the Federal Government to restore the grants to a level equal to 1 per cent of Commonwealth tax revenue - a level of payment not seen since 1996. Finally, the AAA wants the government to abolish the vehicle import tariff, stating that it costs consumers $1.3 billion extra each year, and the continued impost can not be justified without a home-grown manufacturing industry to protect.

"Overall, this is positive budget for SME exporters, but it's an incremental step forward, not a major leap", said Heath Baker, head of policy at the ECA. "This budget goes some way to addressing SME exporters' other needs-but there's still more to be done", Baker was quoted as saying in the press release.

The survey of 3138 CIOs - including 113 in Australia and New Zealand - found adoption of distributed ledger technology to be nearly non-existent, although eight per cent indicated they were at a "pilot execution" stage.

$4.5 million for a suite of new measures to encourage girls and women to pursue STEM education and careers, including a decadal plan for women in science, a toolkit to encourage girls into STEM studies, and a new National Women in STEM Ambassador.

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