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Business Envoy Digital Trade Edition April 2021 banner image

Innovating Australia’s Digital Economy

Digitisation and the online world are increasingly woven into our lives. Today, we do more of our daily activities online than ever before, and the global COVID-19 pandemic has only accelerated this trend.

Image of a Sketch titled 'Planning for the future'.
Planning for the future. Credit: PM&C.

Over the past year, people across Australia have gone online to learn, work, study, and connect with family and loved ones. We ’ve taken to ordering food online, turning up for exercise classes in virtual spaces, attending telehealth consultations, zooming with friends and colleagues, and so much more.

In fact, in just the first eight weeks of the COVID-19 crisis, it ’s estimated that we vaulted forward five years in consumer and business digital adoption. That ’s supercharged change, and it ’s here to stay.

Our increasing connectedness to the online world will outlast the COVID-19 pandemic, and remain vital for how we work and interact with each other well into the future. So our challenge is to keep our foot on the digital accelerator.

Encouraging greater uptake of digital solutions will boost productivity in workplaces and increase jobs, export opportunities, and the prosperity of the whole nation. Digital technologies will also be essential to creating new products, markets and industries, which will give consumers more choice.

We need more Australian businesses across all sectors to capitalise on these opportunities. And we want businesses to take advantage of global opportunities, and thrive in our interconnected world.

Digital technology and the digitisation of the economy is a priority for the Australian Government.

The development of local digital solutions is vital to support broader uptake across the economy.

Australia is already market leader when it comes to new technologies in areas like mining equipment, technology and services, medical devices and diagnostics, and agricultural innovation.

We also have a strong and fast-growing fintech sector, made up of over 600 businesses that are finding new and innovative ways to deliver financial services to customers around the world.

I ’ve long been a big supporter of this dynamic sector. In fact, I ’ve worked in fintech for most of my professional life, so have first-hand experience of its enormous potential to grow our economy.

The digital economy isn ’t constrained by distance or geography. It ’s a truly global market. That ’s why Australia is working closely with like-minded countries to set the ground rules for this growing area.

We want to make it as easy as possible for our aspiring businesses to trade across borders, for data to flow freely between nations, and for Australians to participate in a safe and secure online world.

Last year, Australia signed a ground-breaking Digital Economy Agreement with Singapore. This agreement is a digital bridge that features modern, upgraded rules to free up data flows and increase compatibility for online trade. It sets the conditions for Australian businesses and consumers to make the most of the digital economy. It ’s a massive step forward, and a new global benchmark for digital trade, and we ’re looking to negotiate similar agreements in the future.

At home, the Australian Government is also focused on investing in high-quality infrastructure, and putting in place the most appropriate policy settings, to support a dynamic digital economy.

Last year alone, we invested:

  • $4.5 billion in the National Broadband Network — a nation-building project that will bring the opportunities of the digital age to people spread right across our vast island continent;
  • over $1.6 billion to support the 2020 Cyber Security Strategy — which will ensure our cyber security settings are fit-for-purpose and underpin the confidence that ’s needed for Australians and the businesses they run to engage in our digital technology future; and
  • $800 million in a Digital Business Plan — which will enable businesses to better take advantage of digital technologies and will create jobs as we continue our economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Australian Government is ambitious about Australia ’s digital technology future. In fact, we want Australia to be a world-leading digital economy and society by 2030. To this end, we will work closely with businesses, technology experts and like-minded partners around the world. We will keep our settings and frameworks as up to date as possible so they drive digital transformation and build trust, safety and inclusion. And we will boost the digital capability of small businesses, remove unnecessary regulatory barriers, and drive the uptake of technology across the Australian economy.

There are untold opportunities for Australia when it comes to the digital economy.

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