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2021 federal budget: Businesses to benefit from $1.2bn digital boost

By Grace Ormsby
07 May 2021 | 1 minute read
2021 Federal Budget

Nearly $1.2 billion has been set aside in the upcoming federal budget to invest in Australia’s digital future. Here’s what it could mean for real estate businesses.

According to a statement from Prime Minister Scott Morrison that outlined the budget measures, “every business in Australia is now a digital business”.

He argued: “This transformation is not merely a national one that needs to happen — it’s a global one that is happening.”

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The Prime Minister’s comments come ahead of next week’s federal budget release, and saw him emphasise that by keeping a foot on the digital accelerator, Australia will be better placed to secure its economic recovery from COVID-19.

He’s flagged a number of ways that the $1.2 billion will be spent, including:

Building Australia’s capabilities in artificial intelligence (AI)

  • Worth more than $124.1 million in initiatives, the government’s focus on AI will see the development of a National Artificial Intelligence Centre to be led by CSIRO, supported by a network of AI and digital capability centres.

Building the digital capacity of Australia’s small and medium businesses 

  • The government has flagged a $12.7 million expansion of the Digital Solutions - Australian Small Business Advisory Service, and a further $15.3 million to drive business uptake of e-invoicing.

Strengthening safety, security and trust

  • A $50 million boost to cyber security in government, data centres and future telecommunications networks.

Supporting the digital skills of Australians

  • More than $100 million will be put towards support measures to boost digital skills, which will also see the creation of a new pilot program for work-based digital cadetships, investments in cyber workforce and technology scholarships.

Investment incentives

  • Changes will be made to the way Australian businesses can claim depreciation of intangible assets, including intellectual property and in-house software development.

Other allocations have been made to support emerging aviation technologies, such as drones, while more than $100 million will also be put towards the acceleration of the Consumer Data Right rollout.

The emerging digital identity system will also see extra funding for further expansion, while a digital games tax offset will support “Australia taking a greater share of the $250 billion global game development market”.

According to Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, the digital economy strategy “will allow Australian businesses to capitalise on the opportunities that digital technologies are creating”.

He has argued that greater digital adoption will “improve our competitiveness and lift our productivity — driving job creation and higher wages”.

Minister for the Digital Economy Jane Hume has also weighed in on what she called “a landmark investment in Australia’s digital future”.

“So many Australians are already participating in the digital economy, some without even realising it. Every contactless purchase, e-invoice, business website or small business going online — it’s all part of it and it’s growing rapidly,” she said.

“This is a really exciting announcement, which will drive investment and uptake of emerging technologies, unlock the value of data, build skills for a modern economy, and enhance government service delivery.”

The minister highlighted how “20 years ago, you might have looked in the phone book to find a plumber, now we turn to Google and comparison services — we get quotes within the same day and pay software-generated invoices on our mobiles”.

“Think about how much time and administration work that saves. Australians rightly expect the government to keep up with them, and to help chart the next step forward, and that’s exactly what we are doing with this strategy,” Ms Hume said.

2021 federal budget: Businesses to benefit from $1.2bn digital boost
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Grace Ormsby

Grace Ormsby

Grace is a journalist across Momentum property and investment brands. Grace joined Momentum Media in 2018, bringing with her a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Communication (Journalism) from the University of Newcastle. She’s passionate about delivering easy to digest information and content relevant to her key audiences and stakeholders.

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