Budget 2014: Govt doesn’t grok ICT, says Atlassian


blog If you’ve been paying attention over the past several weeks, you may have realised that Australia’s technology sector hasn’t been the hugest fan of the Federal Budget. Startups and venture capitalists criticised the Budget’s cuts to funding and management resources, the game development sector criticised cuts to gaming investment, researchers are not happy about NICTA’s funding cut and pretty much everyone is unhappy about the Coalition’s new approach to the National Broadband Network. The poor industry mood is summed up well by Atlassian founders Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar in a video interview with Channel Nine’s Financial Review Sunday Program. We recommend you click here for the full video clocking in at six and a half minutes, and there’s also a lengthy article on the subject at the Financial Review itself. A couple of choice quotes:

“The biggest problem with government is it doesn’t understand technology,” Mr Cannon-Brookes told the program. “Technology is going to be the major driver of change over the next 25 years. It has been over the last 25. Now, if we’re not participating as a country in creating that technology, we’re going to be purely a consumer of overseas technology. We’re not going to have the wealth created here and I don’t think the government understands that in the way that they behave.”

I have to say, it’s hard to disagree with the Atlassian gurus on this one. Comprehensively, if there was a measure which was aimed at assisting Australia’s ICT sector (particularly fast-growing startups), it appears as though the new Coalition Government was determined to cut it. Regular Delimiter readers will be aware that I didn’t find some of the existing programs very effective, but there is, at the least, no doubt that the Coalition certainly didn’t replace them with anything either.

Tony Abbott, Joe Hockey and company appear to believe that the sector — responsible for huge ecoomic outcomes in other countries — has little relevance to the land Down Under. Strange stuff. Why wouldn’t you want to have a bevy of high-powered tech firms like Atlassian calling Australia home?

Image credit: Atlassian


  1. I think China has a more progressive approach to the internet than the Coalition.

  2. Politicians seem to spend lots of money ‘stimulating’ the economy through spending on ‘construction’, retail stimulus and related 19th century activities. Seriously, how much of the economy is reliant on digging holes in the ground, and why should that part be ‘stimulated’ , they are not even trying to compete with international competitors ?

    While it’s probably true that Government should be spending on transport infrastructure, it’s become evident that communications infrastructure has reached a point where it’s equally important for ongoing economic growth.

    Private ownership fails in monopoly infrastructure, we see this with near empty toll roads that are over-priced, while old roads are clogged, we see this with projects that are delayed indefinitely because of commercial risks that are too great for private investors to take on, or where Governments have failed to enable privately financed projects through carefully managed policy settings.

    Equally, ensuring all Australians are literate, numerate and technologically capable should be high on the agenda to avoid an underclass of people who can neither take part in nor benefit properly from the developments in the 21st century.

  3. As I said recently elsewhere:

    Seems to be that since digging dirt and exporting it quite as profitable as it used to be, employing Australians to flatten it will be the next great thing.

    I’m glad our government has such a strong vision for our future prosperity.

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