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PM announces $800m budget plan to help businesses go digital

Adrian Flores
Adrian Flores
29 September 2020 1 minute readShare
Scott Morrison

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced an $800 million plan in the upcoming federal budget to push businesses towards adopting digital technologies to grow their business and help the post-COVID economic recovery.

Announcing the Digital Business Plan in a media conference on Tuesday, Mr Morrison said the initiative provides significant backing to continue pushing businesses to go digital and expand opportunities to grow and create more jobs.

“The plan supports Australia’s economic recovery by removing outdated regulatory barriers, boosting the capability of small businesses and backs the uptake of technology across the economy,” Mr Morrison said.

Big-ticket items

Among the big-ticket items of the government’s Digital Business Plan include $419.9 million towards the full implementation of the Modernising Business Registers (MBR) program, allowing businesses to quickly view, update and maintain their business registry data in one location.

An additional $256.6 million will go towards developing a digital identity system to enable more secure and convenient engagement with government services, with a view of future expansion to the private sector.

A further $28.5 million will be invested in supporting the rollout of the Consumer Data Right to the banking and energy sectors.

The government also put aside $29.2 million to accelerate the rollout of 5G, including an initiative to invest in 5G commercial trials and testbeds in key industry sectors such as agriculture, mining, logistics and manufacturing.

$11.4 million will also go towards a new regulatory technology commercialisation initiative to improve compliance and directly support digital technology firms.

SME-focused measures

In relation to small businesses, $22.2 million will be spent on supporting small-business operators take advantage of digital technologies through an expansion of the Australian Small Business Advisory Service – Digital Solutions program, a Digital Readiness Assessment tool and a Digital Directors training package.

$3.6 million will go towards mandating the adoption of electronic invoicing by 1 July 2022 for all Commonwealth government agencies to encourage greater adoption among businesses supplying to government and within their supply chains, and to consult on options for mandatory adoption of e-invoicing by businesses.

Another $2.5 million will be allocated for connecting workers and small and medium-sized businesses to digital skills training.

Other Digital Business Plan measures

  • $9.6 million to support fintechs to export financial services and attract inward investment
  • $6.9 million for two blockchain pilots directed at reducing business compliance costs
  • $5.9 million to boost Australia’s influence on international standards
  • Consulting on making permanent the temporary reforms to allow companies to hold virtual meetings and execute documents electronically
  • Reviewing the regulatory architecture applying to the payments system to ensure it remains fit for purpose and is capable of supporting continued innovation for the benefit both businesses and consumers
  • Reforming the regulation around stored-value facilities to support innovation and competition in line with the recommendations of the Council of Financial Regulators
PM announces $800m budget plan to help businesses go digital
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Adrian Flores
Adrian Flores

Adrian Flores is the deputy editor of MyBusiness. Before that, he was the deputy editor for SMSF Adviser as well as features editor for ifa (Independent Financial Adviser), InvestorDaily, Risk Adviser, Fintech Business and Adviser Innovation.

You can email Adrian at [email protected].

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