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Australian Computer Society (ACS) welcomes budget

ACS, an association that represents the Australian technology sector, has welcomed the budget presented by the Federal Government on Tuesday, describing it as "a step towards boosting the diversity of the IT industry and the broader economy with its support for families in, or looking to enter, the workforce".

ACS chief executive Chris Vein said in a statement: “While we would have liked to have seen more tech focused measures announced, we have long been advocates of boosting the technology sector’s diversity. Enabling parents to enter, or get back into the workforce is an important step in allowing this.

The organisation claims to represent 35,000 technology professionals across all industries in Australia.

“The government’s previously announced measures around TAFE places, support for advanced manufacturing, boosted NBN spending and revamped industry programs are all very welcome by everyone in the sector.

“Ahead of the election earlier this year we proposed nine measures to grow Australia’s IT sector and we are pleased the Albanese Government has acted on many of our ideas.
"We look forward to working with ministers like Ed Husic, Clare O’Neil, Michelle Rowland, Katy Gallagher and Brendan O’Connor in growing the nation’s technology skills base and ensuring Australians can access well paid, secure jobs in the modern, global digital economy.”

Commenting on the budget, Mathavan Parameswaran, technology national leader for national professional services firm RSM Australia, said: “For the tech sector, the budget is a case of ‘not enough, but a step in the right direction’ – there were really no big ticket items this time around.

“One example of a good move we’d have like to have gone further is the uplift in migration program quotas (lifted to a cap of 195,000), which may ease, but not fully solve the tech industry’s skills shortage.

“The $42.2 million funding to alleviate Australia’s significant visa backlogs is also very welcome, and will benefit the tech sector.

“Additionally, the $50 million TAFE Technology Fund to modernise TAFEs is welcome news and should provide up-to-date IT facilities, workshops and laboratories.

“The industry will also welcome the $47.2m to support development of science and technology sector talent and leadership.”

Adam Beavis, managing director of cloud management scale-up Stax, said: “I’m emboldened to see the government's commitment to improving access to skilled talent. The initiatives announced, including vocational and university investment to create a pipeline of talent into the workforce, and the focus on supporting skills for jobs in priority areas like the digital economy, send a clear signal of the role of the technology industry in driving Australia’s long-term growth.

“It can be hard for smaller Australian tech businesses to compete for graduates, so being able to access a stronger pipeline of this talent is important. I often talk about the value that could come from subsidised graduate programs, much like TAFE apprenticeships, where people starting out in tech can earn a good income while they learn on the job skills. If this type of program existed, an organisation like Stax could commit to bringing in groups of grads at a time. We may not be at this ideal end state yet, but the government is making positive steps in this direction.

“We also welcome the additional support to improve skilled migration. Improving visa processing times, increasing the permanent Migration Program and tackling housing supply challenges will make Australia a more attractive option to international talent. Similarly, the focus on creating a more equitable working environment for parents, and particularly women, means we can bring in and keep more greater minds and skilled workers within our businesses. Australia has a lot to share with the world and there’s so much innovation we can derive by fostering greater diversity of our workforce.”

Crispin Kerr, vice-president, ANZ at Proofpoint, said: "[We] welcome the Federal Government’s $12.6 million investment to combat scams and online fraud to help protect Australians from cyber crime. While this investment represents a positive step forward, we also encourage further collaboration between governments and enterprises to promote knowledge sharing to inform appropriate cyber regulation and ensure best practice. Placing the human element of security front and centre is paramount to the success of these investments and in protecting Australians as the threat landscape continues to evolve.

With cyber threats continuing to grow in scale and severity, cyber security must remain a top priority for both the private and public sector and across organisations of all sizes. The further $31 million announced to extend the government’s cyber hub pilot program is a necessary investment to support the modernisation of Australia’s cyber defences and is critical to securing Australia’s security posture for the future.”

“We are heartened to see the Federal Government embracing skills development and putting such focus on enabling Australia to be more sophisticated in technology to help future-proof our economy,” said Roy Lovli, head of Kyndryl Consult, Australia and New Zealand.

“We want our customers to grow and to do so they need the relevant skills, so we welcome the government’s initiatives to strengthen training in priority industries while responsibly using migration to ease current critical skill and labour shortages. This will support the immediate and urgent demand businesses have for digital skills and enable them to develop their own by creating a local pipeline of new skills through training.”

Maria MacNamara, director of Government Relations and Innovation Strategy for Kyndryl A/NZ, added: “This is a smart technology budget focused on building a pipeline of tech skills and laying down the foundations to reshape the economy. Many of the new areas of the economy prioritised by the government are technology-dependent, which makes this a forward-looking budget from that perspective. We applaud it.”

Taken from iTWire 26 October 2022 Media Release.

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