The Federal Budget 2020 saw a $795.5 million investment in the Government’s Digital Business Plan as part of the JobMaker Plan. It’s objective is to improve productivity, income growth and jobs by supporting the adoption of digital technologies by Australian businesses and to see Australia become a leading digital economy by 2030.
Rolled out over four years, the plan focuses on:
- Modern digital infrastructure;
- A reduction in regulatory barriers;
- Support for small and medium businesses (SME); and
- A digital government that is easier to do business with.
The measures to implement the above are as follows:
- Measures to support modern digital infrastructure include:
- $22.1 million over three years from 2020-21 to establish the Australian 5G Innovation. Initiative to support private sector investment in 5G testbeds and trials.
- $7.2 million over two years from 2020-21 to support the accelerated deployment of 5G infrastructure by improving the allocation and management of spectrum.
- New investments in the NBN, funded via private debt markets.
- Measures to reduce regulatory barriers include:
- $28.6 million in 2020-21 to continue the implementation of the Consumer Data Right and commence work on its rollout in the energy and banking sectors.
- $11.4 million over four years from 2020-21 to deliver a Regtech Commercialisation Initiative to streamline Government administration and simplify regulatory compliance through the Business Research and Innovation Initiative.
- $9.6 million investment over four years from 2020-21 to enhance support for Australian fintech start-ups to gain a foothold in international markets and to encourage foreign investment and job creation in Australia.
- $6.9 million over two years from 2020-21 to support industry-led pilots to demonstrate the application of blockchain technology to reduce regulatory compliance costs and encourage broader take up of blockchain by Australian businesses.
- $6 million over three years from 2020-21 to strengthen Australia’s role in international standard-setting and support businesses to apply these standards.
- Undertaking public consultation on making permanent changes to the Corporations Act 2001 that would:
- allow companies to call and conduct meetings electronically with a quorum achievable through virtual attendance of shareholders and officers; and
- provide certainty that company officers can electronically execute a document.
- Implementing reforms to the regulatory arrangements for stored value facilities.
- Measures to support and build SME digital capability include:
- $19.2 million in 2020-21 to expand the Australian Small Business Advisory Services—Digital Solutions program to an additional 10,000 small businesses.
- $3 million over four years from 2020-21 to develop a Digital Readiness Assessment tool to help businesses self-assess their digital maturity and provide them with, and to support leaders of Australian organisations to improve their digital literacy and decision-making.
- $2.5 million in 2020-21 to support an industry-led Digital Skills Finder Platform to enable Australian workers and small to medium enterprises to easily find digital skills training courses for reskilling and upskilling in digital literacy.
- Measures to enhance digital government — making it easier to do business with government include:
- $419.9 million over four years from 2020-21 (with funding already provided for by the Government) to transfer existing business registers to a modernised platform to allow the creation of a single, accessible and trusted source of business data.
- $256.6 million over two years from 2020-21 to continue development and expansion of Digital Identity to improve access to government services and payments online. This funding would enable completion of biometric verification and the integration of myGov, onboard additional services to support businesses and individuals to access more Commonwealth Government services on-line, trial use of digital identity with the states and develop legislation to enable the use of digital identity to be expanded to other levels of Government and the private sector.
- $3.6 million over two years from 2020-21 to facilitate the adoption of e-invoicing across all levels of Government, and to consult on options for mandatory e-invoicing across all levels of Government and by business.
- $0.5 million in 2020-21, to be met from within existing resources of the Department of the Treasury, for a review of the governance and regulation of Australia’s domestic payments system, the system which allows consumers, businesses and other organisations to transfer funds.
Importantly, the $256.6 million committed to continuing the development and expansion of the Digital Identity program includes integration with the Director Identification Number (DIN) scheme for which legislation was passed in June.
This new identity system is part of a suite of new laws – Treasury Laws Amendment (Registries Modernisation and Other Measures) Bill 2019 – which are aimed at combating illegal phoenixing activity (in which companies deliberately avoid paying liabilities by shutting down an indebted company and transferring assets to another company) by preventing directors from registering under different or fictitious names to escape liability.
This new identity system is expected to clearly identify all board positions held by a director to identify involvement in failed companies, associated interests or any perceived or actual conflicts of interest.
Read our earlier article on this topic here.
If you would like to discuss any aspects of the Treasurer’s budget, including the Digital Business Plan and the Director Identification Number please contact a member of our team:
- Director Identification Number
- Digital Business Plan
1. Federal Budget 2020-21 materials – Budget Paper No.2 2020-21
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