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.
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.
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.