After two bonanza Budgets that injected over $3 billion in total ICT funding aimed at growing the digital economy and making it easier to do business with government, the 2022-23 Budget brings a remarkable change of focus, with a near-$10 billion investment in cyber security to be spent over the next ten years.
Intermedium’s research has found that pre-election budgets typically feature a reduction in the value of funding for new ICT policy proposals. This is because governments tend to penny-pinch on tech, while directing spending towards measures that will be popular with the electorate (which typically do not include back-office ICT reform). However, in this case, the increasingly threatening international environment has necessitated a drastic increase in cyber security funding that will double the size of the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD).
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg’s Budget night speech highlighted four significant fields of ICT-related funding: cyber capability, skills reform, regional telecommunications, and new tax deduction schemes for small business. Additionally, the Budget includes moderate allocations towards e-health and environment/disaster recovery.