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Budget: Plan To Up-Skill Oz Via Artificial Intelligence

Unlike budgets of bygone days, there is plenty in last night’s announcements from the Treasurer to have Australia’s technology and communications sectors licking their chops.

Josh Frydenberg.

The main part, implementation of the Federal Government’s digital economy strategy, has already been unveiled. But, for many in the tech sector, to hear it confirmed by Josh Frydenberg, pictured, was akin to hearing the breath of life from a moribund patient.

The strategy, when announced, was described as an investment in infrastructure and an incentive to grow Australia’s digital economy.

Heading the Government’s glorious IT conversion is an AI Action plan to drive business adoption of artificial intelligence and to train AI specialists.

Research and industry capability in artificial intelligence will be boosted by $124.1 million, including a National Artificial Intelligence Centre (NAIC}, led by CSIRO’s Data 61.

Alongside the NAIC are proposals for four Digital Capability Centres to lay the foundations for an Australian AI and digital ecosystem.

To drive investment in emerging technologies,the Government is investing more than $100 million in initiatives to build digital skills.

Nearly $11 million has been allocated to trial up to four industry-led pilots to develop new pathways to build those high-level skills.

There will also be 460 advanced scholarships offered to skill-up Australians in emerging fields, such as AI, quantum computing and robotics.

Cybersecurity is also prominent, securing the future of 5G and 6G networks to empower the IoT and building cyber hubs in major cities.

Nearly $44 million has been allocated for the Cyber Security Skills Partnership Innovation Fund to foster proliferation of cyber security professionals.

And more than $111 million will go towards accelerating the rollout of the Consumer Data Right, or CDR, across the economy, starting with banking and energy, then moving to telecommunications.

Small businesses are being encouraged to adopt digital technologies through a $12.7 million expansion of the Digital Solutions Australian Small Business Advisory Service.

A further $15.3 million will aim to drive business uptake of e-invoicing, which is expected to deliver up to $28.2 billion in net benefits over 10 years

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