Your 3-Minute Briefing on All of the Federal Budget Tech Announcements

Your 3-Minute Briefing on All of the Federal Budget Tech Announcements

The 2023 federal Budget delivers a handful of brilliant initiatives for parents and those looking to buy a home and gives funding to a new National Anti-Corruption Commission. It also commits $1.6 billion to support women’s safety.

But looking through a Gizmodo Australia lens, we’ve got a few tech-adjacent announcements to sink our teeth into.

2023 federal Budget: Technology

While there are no big ticket tech items in the 2023 Budget, such as the 2021-22 Digital Economy Strategy, this year, the government is committing to deliver 480,000 fee-free TAFE places ($871.7 million over five years) to address skills shortages and a $50 million TAFE Technology Fund to modernise TAFEs (this will include modernising IT infrastructure, workshops, laboratories, telehealth simulators and other facilities at TAFEs across Australia).

“Learning skills for jobs in priority areas like the care sectors and the digital economy,” Treasurer Jim Chalmers said while delivering his Budget speech.

A focus on supporting women’s workforce participation and advancing gender equality is also on the list.

The government will provide $15.4 million over four years (then another $2.8 million per year ongoing) to establish the Startup Year program to deliver income-contingent Higher Education Loan Program loans to up to 2,000 recent graduates, postgraduate and final year undergraduate students per year.

There’s also the promise of 20,000 additional university places for disadvantaged Australians. Adding to this is $474.5 million over two years to support student well-being and improve classrooms.

The 2023 federal Budget provides $47.2 million over six years to support the development of talent and leadership in Australian science and technology. They’re going to use $13.5 million to “identify, assess and support Australian development of critical and emerging technologies” and $5.8 million to get more women into STEM roles. Questacon is getting $10 million and quantum computing is getting $4.8 in the form of PhD research scholarships.

As announced at the Jobs and Skills Summit, the government will increase the 2022–23 permanent Migration Program planning level from 160,000 to 195,000. This will help ease widespread, critical workforce and skills shortages. Priority will be given to offshore applicants and on-hand applications for the Skilled Independent visa – New Zealand stream.

In crypto (there’s always crypto), the government will soon introduce legislation to clarify that digital currencies (such as Bitcoin) continue to be excluded from the Australian income tax treatment of foreign currency.

The government will increase penalties for breaches of competition and consumer law to deter conduct that stifles competition and increases costs to consumers. Maximum penalties for corporations will increase from $10 million to $50 million per breach, and from 10 per cent of annual turnover to 30 per cent of turnover (whichever is greater) during the period the breach took place. This is great news for consumers.

Interestingly, the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner is receiving $5.5 million over two years to investigate and respond to the Optus data breach.

Still on cyber and the 2023 federal Budget allocates $31.3 million to extend the whole of government Cyber Hubs pilot while an evaluation is completed. The pilot is trailing a whole of government approach, utilising four Cyber Hubs to deliver cyber security capabilities to Commonwealth entities.

The 2023 Budget will provide $12.6 million over four years to combat scams and online fraud. Funding includes $9.9 million to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission for initial work on the establishment of a National Anti-Scam Centre, $2 million for the Department of Home Affairs to expand its arrangement with IDCARE to provide specialist identity support services and $700,000 will be used to raise public awareness of the risk of scams.

The ACMA, meanwhile, will get $27.7 million over five years to deliver a new spectrum management system and auction capability for spectrum licences.

$757.7 million over five years has also been set aside in the 2023 federal Budget to improve mobile and broadband connectivity and resilience in rural and regional Australia. Mobile base stations will be built out with $400 million of this funding, $200 will go towards delivering telecommunications infrastructure in regional areas and $30 million will help farmers connect to the world. $2.5 million of this kitty will be used to establish a First Nations Digital Advisory Group to lead consultation with First Nations people on the design and delivery of digital inclusion initiatives.

Already announced was Labor’s $2.4 billion NBN investment to help with network upgrades, but there’s also another $4.7 million over three years to support the delivery of free broadband for up to 30,000 unconnected families with school-aged students.

$6 million will also go to the Alannah and Madeline Foundation for the national rollout of the eSmart Digital Licence+, Media Literacy Lab and a new Junior Digital Licence+ to improve media and digital literacy and online safety awareness among primary and secondary school students.

While the National Anticorruption Commission isn’t usually something we’d cover, the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity (ACLEI) is getting $27.5 million, with some of that earmarked to develop a secure and independent ICT environment in preparation for transition to the Commission.

The government will also provide $30 million as part of the 2023 federal Budget for the Robodebt Royal Commission.

The government has also earmarked $217.7 million to abolish the Cashless Debit Card, and commence transition to voluntary income management. And $800,000 will be used to audit MyGov.

In the health space, $3 million over three years will be provided to extend and expand the Rare Disease Telehealth Nurse Program, to assist patients with rare diseases to navigate the health system. The Therapeutic Goods Administration is also getting $23.3 million to help it build a better IT system to monitor and track medications and medical devices.

You can find all of these measures, and more, in the 2022-23 Budget papers. Head over here for all of the climate-related announcements.

This article has been updated since it was first published.

The Cheapest NBN 50 Plans

It’s the most popular NBN speed in Australia for a reason. Here are the cheapest plans available.

At Gizmodo, we independently select and write about stuff we love and think you'll like too. We have affiliate and advertising partnerships, which means we may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. BTW – prices are accurate and items in stock at the time of posting.