The Critical Technologies Statement outlines how the Australian Government is supporting critical technologies.

Critical technologies are technologies that can impact Australia’s national interest, including our:

  • economic prosperity
  • national security
  • social cohesion.

The List of Critical Technologies in the National Interest details the specific fields the government is focusing on. Some of these are quantum technologies, autonomous systems and robotics, artificial intelligence and advanced manufacturing.

Critical technologies have many benefits for Australia. They can:

  • create well-paid, secure jobs
  • attract investment
  • have many different applications across industries
  • help revive our manufacturing industry
  • improve the reliability of supply chains
  • reduce greenhouse gas emissions here and around the world
  • help keep our country and region safe
  • improve Australians’ health and wellbeing.

Critical technologies also have risks. For example:

  • Many other countries are competing with Australia to develop and use critical technologies. This could create challenges for our national security and supply chains.  
  • If a critical technology becomes compromised, it could have significant security implications. People or groups could steal information about our critical technologies or use them in a way that harms Australia.
  • Using more critical technologies could increase our risk of cyber attacks.
  • Industries that rely on a critical technology could be seriously disrupted if there are problems with the technology or its supply.  

The government will take advantage of the opportunities of critical technologies, and manage the risks, by:

  • carefully considering any impacts on our national interest
  • encouraging uptake across the economy
  • helping our universities and businesses keep doing world-class research and development
  • encouraging local and international investment
  • working with other nations to develop technologies, protect supply chains and agree on technology standards
  • balancing Australia’s economic prosperity, national security and social cohesion when making decisions about critical technologies.

Many government initiatives are already supporting critical technologies. The government will keep monitoring new and emerging technologies to ensure all Australians can benefit.


Critical technologies underpin almost all aspects of Australian industry and society, including:

  • advanced manufacturing
  • transportation
  • clean energy
  • healthcare
  • defence
  • national security.

Critical technologies are strategically important, as they provide opportunities and significant benefits to grow our economy, provide well-paying jobs and improve the lives of Australians.

Critical technologies are also currently the focus of international geostrategic competition and can pose a threat to our security and broader national interest.

Some clusters of critical technologies – for example, in artificial intelligence and sensing – are driving broader data and digital transformation across the economy and society, breaking down traditional distinctions of the industrial sector-based economy.

In light of these interconnections, it is important that Australia balances the 3 dimensions of the national interest – our economic prosperity, national security and social cohesion – when considering our approach to critical technologies.

This statement sets out the Australian Government’s commitment to:

  • the important role of critical technologies
  • the activities underway to ensure we can capture the opportunities these critical technologies bring to support our economic prosperity, national security, environmental sustainability and social cohesion.

The Australian Government will ensure that these elements are integrated to support the development of any future targeted critical technologies policy interventions, and that these decisions reflect the broader geopolitical and strategic context in which we operate.  

Seizing the opportunities, managing the risks

There are 3 ways critical technologies demonstrate their value:

  • solving national challenges here in Australia
  • delivering secure, well-paid jobs through investment
  • strengthening international partnerships and supporting our national interest.

To ensure Australia is extracting maximum value from critical technologies, we need to make sure we are seizing the opportunities while managing the risks. We want to:

  • champion Australia’s research, ideas and industrial strengths and capabilities
  • ensure we can maintain uninterrupted access to critical technologies through trusted supply chains
  • retain our strategic capability and awareness of the international technology landscape.

We want to invest in our future prosperity to:

  • deliver secure, well-paid jobs for all Australians
  • keep Australians healthy
  • make Australia a manufacturing nation once again
  • build resilient supply chains
  • transition to a net zero economy.

The Australian Government also recognises the risks critical technologies can present – whether through:

  • unwanted knowledge transfer and intellectual property theft
  • undermining our sovereign decision-making
  • increasing our cyber threat surface
  • compromising critical functions, systems or supply chains.

The wide scope and impact of these risks stems from factors such as:

  • who creates and develops critical technologies
  • how they are used
  • how they are treated internationally.

Decision-making frameworks for critical technologies need to balance considerations across economic, national security and social issues. As an example, by providing fit-for-purpose critical technology security measures, Australia can make balanced decisions about the use and application of critical technologies in Australia – safeguarding our resilience and prosperity, and building our ability to respond to future shocks.

A principles-based approach to critical technologies policy development affords Australia the flexibility to meet the challenges of evolving technology ecosystems, while also providing confidence to investors and clarity to risk owners.

Solving national challenges here in Australia

Australia can build a more resilient, inclusive, fair, and healthy society by applying critical technologies to:

  • significant national challenges, like climate change, healthy ageing, and vaccines against diseases
  • our government’s priorities, such as reviving Australian made manufacturing, supporting new jobs, and securing clean, affordable and reliable energy for Australian households
  • industry to support ongoing energy security throughout a transition to a net zero economy by 2050
  • building reliable, competitive and diverse supply chains.


The foundational role of critical technologies in protecting Australians’ health has never been clearer since the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes the development and local manufacture of new vaccines.

The Prime Minister announced on the 15 August 2022 that an mRNA vaccine manufacturing facility will be built at Monash University, which will reduce Australia’s dependence on imported mRNA vaccines and vulnerability to supply disruptions or delays.

Emissions reduction

Prioritising enabling critical technologies will help us achieve our commitment to net zero emissions by 2050. Critical technologies underpin low emissions manufacturing methods such as:

  • green metals
  • alternative fuels such as green hydrogen
  • innovative waste reduction and recycling methods.

The development of emissions reduction technologies, renewable energy generation, and advanced energy storage technologies will all support our Powering Australia plan to reduce emissions by 43% by 2030, and are vital for our transition to net zero.

Healthy ageing

Critical technologies are also one of the foundations of a more equitable and inclusive society and can improve our wellbeing.

For older Australians and those living with a disability, these technologies can support dignity and improve health outcomes.

For example, CSIRO, through its Australian e-Health Research Centre, has developed a low-cost, non-invasive environmental sensor, monitoring, and support system for use in either individual homes or a supported-living community. 

Smarter Safer Homes was the first consumer-driven smart home technology in the world to help people live independently in their homes. The platform comprises ambient sensors that collect data from the physical environment within the home and uses artificial intelligence to turn that data into relevant information that can be shared with family and carers. 

The Smarter Safer Homes system can:

  • sense elements including motion, light, temperature, humidity, vibration and power usage throughout the house
  • build a picture of a person's daily activities
  • detect deviations that may indicate illness or injury.

A recently published paper reported that trials of the platform found statistically significant evidence that older people living with Smarter Safer Homes had better quality of life than the control group who experienced usual care.

Technology for wellbeing – brain computer interfaces

Brain computer interfaces (BCIs) are systems and devices that directly monitor, or interact with, the brain or nervous system. They can read an individual’s neural signals and translate them into commands for a device such as a prosthetic limb.

BCIs have the potential to transform the lives of people with profound disabilities or diseases. Symptoms of Parkinson’s disease or psychiatric disorders can be significantly reduced with electrical stimulation of deep brain nuclei, while advanced BCIs allow patients to control a computer directly using their brain activity.

Delivering secure, well-paid jobs through investment

Australia can retain the value of its great ideas and create secure, well-paid jobs by accelerating the uptake of critical technologies across the economy.

We are also working with our international partners to invest in and safeguard our critical technologies industries.

The increased uptake of critical technologies will underpin future productivity growth across the entire economy, supporting areas where jobs cannot be filled and delivering the means for wages growth and an increase in secure, well-paid jobs.

Local investment in critical technologies is a force multiplier for the Australian Government’s wider economic priorities. For example, critical enabling technologies are a central element of our National Reconstruction Fund, which will underpin the diversification and transformation of Australia's industry and economy, securing future productivity increases and economic prosperity.

Making access to critical technologies affordable, secure, and resilient reduces the cost of doing business in Australia, helping new small businesses get started and improving the dynamism of the Australian economy. Businesses that adopt critical technologies also take on the strengths of those technologies as their own, equipping Australian businesses to offer more value to their customers and positioning them to thrive on the global stage.

Making our access to critical technologies more resilient also improves investors’ confidence to invest in the businesses that depend on these technologies to thrive. Similarly, targeted investments will accelerate the uptake of emerging innovations that will underpin our future growth in productivity, jobs, and wages.

Supporting our future prosperity and security will involve a combination of public and private sector investment, locally and from international partners. Investments in local critical technologies should transfer key skills and experiences from international partners to Australian workers, accelerating the success of our local critical technology sector and opportunities for Australians to access high-value jobs.

The Australian Government also recognises that systemic, economy‑wide actions will boost the success of these investments, including our existing efforts to:

  • improve access to jobs and skills
  • encourage competition and diversify industries
  • accelerate the development and uptake of new innovations
  • help businesses to commercialise new ideas
  • foster a regulatory environment that encourages innovation whilst proportionately managing risks.

These are all key components of our commitment to work with industry to deliver 1.2 million tech jobs by 2030.

Australian innovation and ingenuity

Australian companies are leveraging our world-leading research in critical technologies – including electric batteries, advanced materials and sensors and critical minerals extraction and processing, to:

  • develop innovative solutions,
  • attract investment, and
  • create high-value jobs.

Companies have developed local, scalable manufacturing capabilities which deliver solutions across a wide range of sectors.

For example, Australian companies are developing and manufacturing world-leading navigation systems to make navigation more accurate, and positioning systems and robotics to improve mine safety.

CSIRO is world-leading in developing a suite of robotics and autonomous systems, spanning:

  • ground robot teams capable of navigating in unknown environments that tied for the top score at the DARPA Subterranean Challenge
  • Magneto, the wall-climbing robot with magnetic feet designed for inspection of confined spaces, now commercialised through an Australian SME.

Companies are also delivering advanced manufacturing products for aerospace, defence and mining using cutting-edge advanced manufacturing materials that are stronger, lighter and more robust.

Strengthening international partnerships to support our national interest

No single country can tackle the geostrategic challenges presented by critical technologies on their own.

Australia is committed to working with the global community and like-minded partners to ensure greater security and prosperity for everyone underpinned by the safe and fair development and use of critical technologies, consistent with our international and trade obligations, including human rights.

Our commitment to promoting the ethical development and use of critical technologies enables a safe, secure and prosperous Australia, Indo-Pacific and the world.

The global technological landscape is evolving at an unprecedented pace, and geostrategic competition is impacting the development and use of critical technologies. Military modernisation in our region is accelerating and we have seen a reduction in Australia’s strategic warning time.

Critical technologies are foundational to ensuring Australia remains safe and secure, and will form the basis of future defence, intelligence, and national security capabilities. Critical technologies will provide Australia stronger sovereignty and will deter coercive actions.  

Being at the forefront of cutting-edge science, technology and research will build our resilience to evolving threats, and this will involve close coordination and collaboration with international partners. Australia relies on critical technologies to develop high-end defence and intelligence capabilities that can detect and deter military and other threats. Investment in these technologies also helps strengthen our defence industrial base.

Australia is a strong regional and global partner for critical technologies – and we want to maintain and build on this strong reputation. Our national resilience and prosperity will be bolstered through robust supply chains.

Secure, resilient and transparent supply chains for critical technologies mean we can maximise their benefits and drive a better future for all Australians. We will achieve this by:

  • leveraging existing partnerships
  • building new ones
  • proactively shaping the design, development and use of critical technologies and their standards.

Australia’s active participation to set the standards underpinning critical technologies will support our vision of being a world leader in developing critical technologies.

Strengthening international partnerships

Australia has important international partnerships in place to strengthen cooperation on critical technology issues, including:

  • the trilateral partnership between Australia, the UK, and US (AUKUS), which enables deeper cooperation on leading-edge military capabilities and technologies. AUKUS partners are collaborating on advanced cyber, artificial intelligence, quantum technologies, undersea capabilities, hypersonics and counter-hypersonics, and electronic warfare
  • the Technical Cooperation Program (TTCP), a collaborative 5-nation forum between the UK, US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, and Australia’s most important link into the
    defence-related laboratories of our partner nations. It provides a forum for the sharing of ideas and gives member nations the potential to extend their research and development (R&D) capabilities at minimal cost, to avoid duplication and to improve interoperability
  • the Australia–India Framework Arrangement on Cyber and Cyber Enabled Critical Technologies Cooperation and the complementary Australia–India Cyber and Critical Technology Partnership, through which we are supporting researchers to enhance the ethical frameworks and technical standards which underpin the development of critical technology
  • the Australia–UK Cyber and Critical Technology Partnership to intensify cooperation and delivery around shared opportunities and challenges regarding cyber and critical technology policy.

We are continuing our work on setting international rules, norms and standards through the United Nations and its specialised agencies, including the International Telecommunications Union, and other multilateral fora.

We continue to work on cyber and critical technologies with friends and partners in our region. For example, Australia is enhancing the resilience of our friends and partners in the Indo-Pacific through our Cyber and Critical Tech Cooperation Program.

Australia has world-class critical technologies research and education institutions.

There is evidence of efforts to undermine Australia’s interests through foreign interference in these sectors, which can have negative impacts like:

  • the unwanted transfer of knowledge and theft of intellectual property
  • undermining Australia’s strategic advantage and economic success.

Malicious use of critical technologies harms our national security and undermines our democracy.

Accordingly, it is important we take a proactive approach to mitigating key risks so our institutions can continue to benefit from international collaboration and Australians can realise the benefits of our technological innovations.

While there is a need to mitigate foreign interference and technology transfer risks, we must pursue our economic, social and environmental objectives at the same time. But these goals need not be at odds: our partnerships will attract investment and talent from trusted sources, supporting our security, economic, social and environmental goals in tandem.

Turning our plan into action

We are focused on ensuring Australia’s access to, and choice in, critical technologies and systems that are secure, reliable, and cost effective.

This will enhance opportunities for well-paid, secure jobs across our economy, and complements our approach to promote Australia as a safe, secure partner in scientific and critical technologies collaboration.

When the government is developing options and deciding actions for critical technologies, the issues will be considered through the following framework:

  • whether the technology is on the List of Critical Technologies in the National Interest (see below)
  • alignment with government priorities or strategic needs (for example, priorities under the National Reconstruction Fund or AUKUS)
  • the national interest lens
  • development of specific strategies to ensure Australia is positioned to capture economic opportunities of a specific technology.

This approach reflects that each key enabling technology field identified through the List of Critical Technologies in the National Interest has its own infrastructure, skills, and investment needs, and there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach. 

A balanced, whole-of-government approach to critical technologies policy will ensure all government portfolios are working together to identify and harness opportunities within the broader strategic context.

We have established a Critical Technologies Hub and node operating model in the Australian Public Service. The hub sits within the Department of Industry, Science and Resources, supported by 3 nodes providing expert scientific, economic and national security advice.

List of Critical Technologies in the National Interest

To help deliver our vision, the updated List of Critical Technologies in the National Interest has been developed through an extensive public consultation process.

The key feedback from stakeholders was the need to have a focused list with a clear purpose.

In response, the government has developed a list comprising key enabling technology fields (with examples) that will have a high impact on our national interest, supported by the non-exhaustive examples in each field. It is accompanied by a clear purpose.

The list will help ensure we are all pulling in the same direction for research, investment, talent attraction and international collaboration, and that government policy is cohesive and aligned.

The fields are:

  • advanced manufacturing and materials technologies
  • artificial intelligence (AI) technologies
  • advanced information and communication technologies
  • quantum technologies
  • autonomous systems, robotics, positioning, timing and sensing
  • biotechnologies
  • clean energy generation and storage technologies.

We are already making great progress in key areas  

Below are just a few of the government initiatives underway recognising and supporting the value of critical technologies. But this is only the start. As opportunities in critical technologies arise, we will continue to act quickly and decisively to maximise their value for Australians.

Solving national challenges here in Australia – supporting Australia’s research capabilities and commercialising Australia’s great ideas

  • Australia’s Economic Accelerator is a $1.6 billion new stage-gated grant program dedicated to funding translation and commercialisation in national priority areas.
  • The Trailblazer Universities Program will provide $362.5 million over 4 years from 2021–2022 to 2025–2026 to support 6 selected universities to boost prioritised research and development and drive commercialisation outcomes with industry partners.
  • The National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy supports Australia’s research community accessing cutting-edge national research infrastructure. We will invest $4 billion in our national research infrastructure from 2018 to 2029.
  • Australia’s Chief Scientist, Dr Cathy Foley AO PSM, is leading a national conversation on the development of Australia’s next set of National Science and Research Priorities.
  • Establishing the Advanced Strategic Capabilities Accelerator, by investing $3.4 billion over the next decade to solve Defence’s most pressing challenges by delivering game-changing capabilities that give Defence an asymmetric advantage.
  • The Intellectual Property Framework provides universities standardised terms, clauses and agreements for collaboration on IP licensing, options and assignment to drive greater collaboration by universities and greater uptake of research outputs by Australian industry.

Delivering secure, well-paid jobs through investment – and investing in Australia’s future 

  • We will deliver investments through the $15 billion National Reconstruction Fund, which earmarks $1 billion for critical technologies such as AI, robotics and quantum technologies.
  • We will deliver $60 million in funding to support the National Quantum Strategy, affirming Australia’s commitment to building a sustainable and world-leading quantum economy.
  • We are developing a National Robotics Strategy.
  • Our Digital and Tech Skills Compact affirms our commitment to help address skills shortages and grow the tech sector.
  • The Workforce mobility initiatives – National Industry PhD Program has $296 million to establish a suite of industry PhD and research fellowship schemes.

Strengthening international partnerships to support our national interests

  • We are enhancing the capacity and resilience of our friends and partners in the Indo-Pacific through our Cyber and Critical Tech Cooperation Program.
  • We are supporting researchers to enhance the ethical frameworks and technical standards which underpin the development of critical technologies through the Australia–India Framework Arrangement on Cyber and Cyber Enabled Critical Technologies Cooperation.
  • The National Intelligence Community is making significant investments to ensure Australia continues to protect our critical technologies but also capitalise on world-leading capabilities developed here. This in turn helps support Australia’s economic prosperity.
  • We are developing the 2023–2030 Australian Cyber Security Strategy.
  • We are developing measures to address unwanted transfer of critical technologies.
  • Our Defence Industry Development Strategy will provide clarity and guidance on how industry and government will work together to deliver the most important, most vital and most relevant capabilities to safeguard our national interests. This will help develop sovereign industrial capability and secure, decent, long-term jobs for Australians.

We are committed to maximising value from critical technologies

Critical technologies policy presents a multi-faceted challenge, arising from a confluence of factors:

  • the geostrategic environment
  • the enabling capability nature and rapid pace of development of technologies
  • their role in supply chains and critical infrastructure that we all rely on
  • their global nature
  • the role of the private sector in driving the development and adoption of technology.

Our plan for critical technologies provides valuable guidance to:

  • help us navigate these challenges to maximise their benefits for all Australians
  • ensure Australia remains a destination of choice for critical technologies industries and research and development
  • protects our critical functions and sovereign decision-making capabilities.

The Australian Government will continue to monitor and act on new and emerging technologies, both here and abroad, in our national interest.