news The Australian Computer Society (ACS) has welcomed Tuesday’s Federal Budget announcement, saying it delivers “good news for jobs and skills in the digital sector”.
The professional association for Australia’s ICT sector specifically praised the Government’s commitment to the National Innovation and Science Agenda (NISA), along with improved FinTech regulation, cybersecurity funding and support for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
“The announcement of the NISA in December 2015 was a pivotal moment for Australia’s digital future, and seeing the funding confirmed in last night’s budget delivers certainty and ensures these initiatives will help build a strong platform for Australia’s future” said Anthony Wong, ACS President.
The ACS said it was “pleased” at the “sensible approach” taken to FinTech regulation in the Budget and the confirmation of funding for the Government’s recently announced Cybersecurity strategy.
“The idea of having a regulatory sandbox will help encourage innovation and experimentation from new businesses, and recognises that disruption is driving the FinTech space.” Wong said, adding: “Cybersecurity is both a threat and opportunity in the digital economy and the ACS is pleased to see the high priority the Government is placing on this issue.”
The ACS President also welcomed the modification to tax arrangements for SMEs and startups, saying that, with recent growth in innovation and entrepreneurism, “it is important that we create an environment that encourages innovation and this reform is a part of that.”
The Senate’s passing of reforms to tax arrangements for early stage investors and venture capitalists “demonstrates that the Parliament understand the importance of innovative businesses”, said Wong.
He added that delaying higher education reforms while to provide time for further consultation is welcome and could ensure Australia shifts over to a “sustainable, high-quality tertiary sector” to help address a shortage of students entering into technology courses.
Regarding the “enormous opportunity” that lies with developing digital skills within Australia’s existing workforce, Wong explained that ACS/Deloitte research for a report titled Australia’s Digital Pulse 2016 indicated that today’s employers increasingly require technology skills.
He urged the Government to collaborate with organisations such as the ACS, as well as employers, industry and the academic sector to “realise this opportunity”.
“The announcements made surrounding the NISA are an excellent start, and with innovation supported by both sides of the Parliament this is a real opportunity to build a strong foundation for the digital economy,” Wong concluded.