$1 Billion Upgrade: A Plan for Australia’s Digital Workforce

Apr 4, 2022 | News

By: Michael Crooks

Among everything the pandemic has taught the world is the importance of digital technology in everyday life.

Now, the peak body for Australia’s IT professionals has a billion-dollar plan to prop up the nation’s IT future.

The Australia Computer Society (ACS) has unveiled a proposal that aims to boost digital education, regional skills and industry diversity.

In the lead up to this year’s Federal Election, the ACS has called on the major political parties to boost funding for all IT-related industries.

The organisation, which is the professional association for Australia’s technology sector, released a list of measures to keep Australia in line with the ever-growing global digital economy.

“The last two years have shown the importance of the [IT] sector to the Australian economy,” ACS President Dr Nick Tate said.

““Expanding the IT workforce is now essential to maintain the nation’s standard of living and grow our economy.” – Dr Nick Tate

“Everything from working from home, check-in applications, and alleviating supply chain issues hinges on a skilled IT workforce.

“Expanding this workforce is now essential to maintain the nation’s standard of living and grow our economy.”

The ACS 2022 Platform proposes nine measures to bolster the tech sector over the next three-year term of government.

$100 million to encourage tech education

According to the ACS, Australia has a chronic shortage of IT workers. This measure would boost resources to teachers delivering tech content to inspire the next generation.

An ACS survey found that more than 75 per cent of primary school teachers had “no prior experience or training to teach the Digital Technologies Curriculum“.

$100 million crack down on spam and scams

With people using digital technology for nearly every aspect of their lives, this proposal would aim to eliminate the online and text message scams that plague everyone.

ACS proposes “to reduce the volume of SMS, phone and email-based scams by boosting enforcement, tightening controls on scammer’s money flows and compelling telcos to take stronger action to block calls from… scam operators”.

“We also need to keep digital infrastructure and our personal technology secure, so we have  proposed a number of ideas to ensure the integrity of our government and private infrastructure,” Dr Tate said.

$10,000 employer tax credit for improving skills

ACS proposes giving employers up to a $10,000 employee tax credit for businesses providing tech-related training.

$500 million for growing the regional digital economy

This measure would provide hubs in regional areas that are aimed at improving the digital literacy of communities and businesses.

“It’s also essential that regional Australia is not left out of the future economy and we have proposed programs to grow the technology sector outside the major cities,” Dr Tate said.

$500 million to increase diversity and inclusion

The ACS plans to increase female participation in a sector where only 29 per cent of workers are female.

The other measures:

  • Promoting stronger cybersecurity rules for government agencies;
  • Establishment of a Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology;
  • Creating a cabinet-level Digital Economy portfolio;
  • Establishing a commission to evaluate the needs of tomorrow’s workforce.

The ACS Election Platform “lays out a roadmap for the next government – regardless of who wins – to build on the Australian economy’s strength over the last two years and help the nation keep its place in the digital economy,” Dr Tate said.

“I urge all parties to consider the proposals we’re making. We look forward to the discussion of Australia’s role in the global digital economy and the jobs of the future during the 2022 election.”

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Article supplied with thanks to Hope Media.

Feature image: by Marvin Meyer on Unsplash