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National Meeting of Digital Economy and Technology Ministers Communiqué August 2020

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28 August 2020

The National Meeting of Digital Economy and Technology Ministers met today by teleconference to discuss how governments across Australia collectively continue to support industries and businesses impacted by COVID-19.

The following ministers attended the meeting:

  • The Hon Karen Andrews MP, Minister for Industry, Science and Technology (Commonwealth)
  • The Hon Victor Dominello MP, Minister for Customer Service (New South Wales)
  • The Hon Stuart Ayres MP, Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney (New South Wales)
  • The Hon Jaala Pulford MP, Minister for Innovation, Medical Research and the Digital Economy (Victoria)
  • The Hon David Pisoni MP, Minister for Innovation and Skills (South Australia)
  • The Hon Michael Ferguson MP, Minister for Science and Technology (Tasmania)

Better support business digitisation

Ministers were briefed on the business digital support services being provided by Commonwealth, State and Territory governments, and how they pivoted to support business in response to COVID-19.

Ministers agreed that great support for businesses to digitise was in place, but that more can be done. Ministers commissioned the Digital Economy and Technology Senior Officials’ Group to continue to work with industry to understand their greatest areas of need in supporting digitisation and resilience as the economy recovers from COVID-19.

They will also explore the most effective digital business support programs across all jurisdictions and agreed that best practices and resources for businesses will be shared to drive business digital transformation throughout Australia. Jurisdictions will explore ways to promote awareness of digital initiatives and services available to business, including through a new Australian Government Non-government Organisation, Navii, who’s role it is to empower businesses to go digital.

Ministers noted the project will coordinate and maximise efforts across the states and territories in helping businesses get online and use technology to improve their operations.

“The findings of this project highlight how responsive governments across Australia have been to business demand for COVID-19 support services, but more can be done. We can be more connected, we can share more information, and we can ensure businesses can more easily transition between commonwealth, state and territory support services.”

Government procurement

Ministers also discussed how government procurement can be used to lift digital capability. This included hearing about NSW Government’s recently established ICT and Digital Sovereign Procurement Taskforce as an example of how jurisdictions are exploring ways to diversify ICT and digital partnerships and government spending. In addition, ministers also heard about the South Australian Government’s new Go2Gov program which invites startups and early stage businesses to pitch novel and innovative solutions to public sector challenges, with scope to extend service delivery beyond the program and become an ongoing provider to state government agencies.

Ministers agreed to continue this discussion, including exploring the subject more once the NSW procurement taskforce had further progressed.

Next meeting

Ministers expect to meet again in early December and will hear updates on:

  • mapping Australia’s artificial intelligence and autonomous systems capability;
  • steps to improve the uptake of regulatory technology;
  • identifying opportunities to promote cyber security job pathways; and
  • exploring how to strengthen industry-research collaboration.

For the full list of projects, see the communique released following the inaugural meeting on 15 May 2020.

Apologies:

  • The Hon Kate Jones MP, Minister for State Development, Tourism and Innovation (Queensland)
  • The Hon Dave Kelly MLA, Minister for Innovation and ICT, & Science (Western Australia)
  • Mr Andrew Barr MLA, Chief Minister of the (Australian Capital Territory)

Ms Fiona Roche, Western Australia’s (WA) Acting Deputy Director General for Industry, Science and Innovation at the Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation represented the Hon Dave Kelly MLA, Minister for Innovation and ICT, & Science for WA.

Ms Bettina Konti, the Australian Capital Territory’s (ACT) Chief Digital Officer represented Mr Andrew Barr MLA, Chief Minister of the ACT.

Ms Kathleen Robinson, the Northern Territory’s (NT) Chief Executive at the Department of Corporate and Information Services represented the NT.

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