Australia announces $800 million package for digital business transition

Australia has created a A$800 million funding package to advance the digitisation of businesses, as part of its COVID-19 economic recovery plan.

The Federal Government said it would spend $420 million coordinating Australia’s more than 30 company registers and put them online, and another $257 million on expanding a digital identity system for people interacting with the main government internet portal.

Other areas of the plan include spending $29 million on the roll-out of 5G high-speed internet and $28.5 million to promote ‘open banking’, where customers can shop around for financial services with their own data. The package also includes $6.9 million to test the use of blockchain.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the digitisation of companies would create job opportunities in Australia’s ‘new normal’ following the COVID-19 pandemic.

And Prime Minister Scott Morrison said: “Many businesses moved online quickly when the pandemic hit, undergoing a decade of change in months, finding new customers or new ways of doing things.

“[The digital package] provides significant backing to continue that digital push” and “supports Australia’s economic recovery by removing out-dated regulatory barriers, boosting the capability of small businesses, and backs the uptake of technology across the economy,” he added.