This page belongs to: National Quantum Strategy

Theme 5: A trusted, ethical and inclusive quantum ecosystem

The Australian Government will:

  • ensure that the growth of Australia’s quantum ecosystem supports economic prosperity while safeguarding national wellbeing
  • champion responsible innovation and the introduction of new standards and regulatory mechanisms where national wellbeing is at risk.

Immediate actions

Action 5.1 

Work with industry, academia and states and territories to develop principles to support the responsible and inclusive development and use of quantum technologies.

Action 5.2

Ensure that Australia is actively represented in international quantum standards-setting bodies. Continue to work with industry to boost participation in international quantum standards development.

What we’ve heard

Quantum technologies present nearly endless opportunities. But these opportunities must serve the interests of Australian society and contribute to our national wellbeing. The public is increasingly aware of the ethical and social implications of new technologies, and we should not assume they will enthusiastically embrace quantum technologies.

By building principles for responsible development and use, quantum researchers and developers can develop technologies that align to Australian values and expectations and protect human rights. By adopting this approach, Australia can cement itself as a responsible technology developer and attract international companies and investors.

Standards for quantum technologies will give Australians confidence these technologies are being developed and deployed in a way that is trusted, secure and to their benefit. Technology standards and trusted measurement will help grow the sector by creating a competitive supplier market. This will give industry confidence to adopt new technologies and ensure global interoperability.

Standards will provide consistency and opportunities to Australian companies looking to develop or use this technology. With industry leading the way, Australia can have an active role in the global bodies that develop technology standards. This will help ensure that standards for quantum technologies support the growth of a vibrant and competitive marketplace by fostering interoperability, innovation, transparency and security.

The government will continue prioritising Australia’s representation in international quantum standards-setting bodies and developing principles for responsible and inclusive development and use. This work is consistent with our international obligations and the principles of Australia’s international cyber and critical technology engagement. We will also ensure that developing and adopting these standards doesn’t unnecessarily inhibit research, development and commercialisation of quantum technologies.

To maximise the opportunities of quantum, we must push for greater inclusion and diversity. This includes increasing the participation of women, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and other underrepresented groups. The quantum community must engage with rural and regional Australia and connect with families, teachers and children. That way, the whole of Australia can understand and benefit from quantum technologies.

The quantum industry will also play an important role in improving diversity and inclusion. This includes reducing the gender pay gap and supporting women's participation, particularly in senior positions.

Action impacts

These immediate actions address the challenges and opportunities identified in this strategy, by:

  • ensuring the growth of Australia’s quantum ecosystem aligns with and protects Australian values, human rights and national wellbeing
  • championing responsible innovation by designing frameworks for the responsible development and use of quantum technologies
  • actively engaging with international standards development forums to represent Australia’s interests
  • positioning Australia as a destination for talent and capital investment.
Case study

Contributing to global quantum governance

A glowing microprocessor on a circuit board

Growing Australia’s place in and contribution to the international quantum ecosystem has been enabled through our participation in the development of world-first governance guidelines for quantum computing.

In 2021, the World Economic Forum established a multi-stakeholder network centred on the acceleration of responsible quantum computing. This took place as the ethical, legal and social implications of quantum computing were just beginning to be discussed globally. But there was wide recognition there were no established governance guidelines available that would guide the development and use of the technology for broader social good.

Over the course of a year, the forum coordinated a comprehensive multi-stage co-design process involving:

  • quantum science and technology experts
  • business leaders
  • social scientists
  • policymakers
  • authorities on emerging technology ethics and law drawn from around the world.

Australian expertise was broadly represented and participants in the development of these guidelines came from CSIRO, the Sydney Quantum Academy, the Australian National University, the University of Western Australia, The University of Queensland, Monash University and Quintessence Labs.

The Australian participants worked alongside other key quantum experts and stakeholders across research and development, government and industry sectors across the globe to tackle early-stage questions about how to not only assess and manage the opportunities of quantum, but also the potential risks so that they might be mitigated.

The process set the course for looking at the long-term futures that we most wanted to create with quantum computing and created a set of actionable principles that can be debated, refined and used to collaboratively shape how the technology will be used.