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An action plan for artificial intelligence in Australia

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18 June 2021

The Australian Government has released Australia’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) Action Plan.

The plan sets out a vision for Australia to be a global leader in the development and adoption of trusted, secure and responsible AI. It includes actions the Australian Government is taking to realise this vision and ensure all Australians share the benefits of an AI-enabled economy.

The plan identifies 4 focus areas to:

  • lift the development and adoption of AI to create jobs and boost productivity
  • grow and attract world-class talent and expertise
  • harness our world-leading AI capabilities to solve national challenges and benefit all Australians
  • ensure AI technologies are responsible, inclusive and reflect Australian values.

This includes progressing the work we have been doing to promote ethical approaches to AI.

A key feature of the Australian Government’s Digital Economy Strategy, the action plan will help deliver a modern and leading digital economy by 2030. It builds on whole-of-economy foundations, and technology and digital policy settings, that the government has put in place to drive Australia’s future prosperity.

New investments in Australia’s AI capability

As part of the plan, the Australian Government is investing a targeted $124.1 million to build Australia’s AI capability. This includes:

  • $53.8 million over 4 years to create the National AI Centre and 4 AI and Digital Capability Centres – Together these centres will drive the adoption and use of AI technologies by Australian businesses, to improve productivity and lift competitiveness. This measure will use a national approach to coordinate Australia's AI expertise and capabilities, and lay the foundations for a strong Australian AI and digital ecosystem.
  • $33.7 million over 4 years to support Australian businesses to partner with government to pilot AI projects – The projects will focus on developing AI‑based solutions to national challenges that will also have job creation, economic recovery and social benefits.
  • $24.7 million over 6 years to establish the Next Generation AI Graduates Program – This program aims to attract and train home-grown, job-ready AI specialists. It will address industry skills shortages and develop a diverse pipeline of talented specialists.
  • $12.0 million over 5 years to catalyse the AI Opportunity in our Regions program – This measure will provide up to 36 co-funded competitive grants. Funding will incentivise AI practitioners to engage with regional businesses to develop AI solutions for regional problems. It will provide opportunities build greater awareness of the benefits of AI throughout regional communities.

This brings the government’s investment in AI to almost half a billion dollars since 2018.

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