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Canberra’s New Push To Bring Tech To Small Biz

CANBERRA: Last night’s Federal Budget delivery by Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, pictured, has shown that the Covid-19 pandemic that has affected all Australians has accelerated the adoption of digital technologies by Australian businesses and consumers.

So far at least, this has enabled many businesses to transform their operations and continue to trade through the crisis.

In an important note for the ITC industries, the Government said that its Digital Business Plan will build on this momentum to support an even greater adoption of new technologies across the economy – by both businesses and consumers.

For instance, an additional $4.5 billion investment in NBN Co will hopefully finally bring ultra-fast broadband to millions of families and businesses across the nation. Funding of $29.2 million should also accelerate the rollout of the 5G network.

Cutting red tape is being emphasised as a key element of the Government’s economic recovery plan. According to the Government, this will make it easier for businesses to invest, create jobs, respond quickly to challenges and hopefully seize opportunities.

One proposal is to provide $24.7 million to help small business operators use technology, including providing an additional 10,000 places for the Australian Small Business Advisory Service’s “digital solutions” program.  Other proposals involving the technology sector include:

  • A “comprehensive review of the regulatory architecture of the payments system” to ensure that it is can foster innovation and competition;
  • More support for the fintech sector to expand exports of financial services and foster inward investment. “This support will assist in the growth of Australia’s fintech sector, which will complement the rollout of the Consumer Data Right in banking,” the Government claims; and
  • Support for enabling “virtual annual general meetings” and something called “electronic document execution”, which will have some outfits pricking their ears up.

Other offerings in this field are said to include modernising business registers; developing secure and efficient digital identity systems; slashing red tape and modernising digital services for farmers; and modernising record-keeping requirements for Fringe Benefits Tax for employers and employees.

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