In other public sector ICT and digital news for the 3rd of August
Parliament Back: Jobs and Skills Australia delayed
Federal parliament returned on 26 July for the first time since April. With opening ceremonies taking up all of Tuesday, politicians had a two-day working week (Wednesday and Thursday), before many of them flew up to the Garma Festival over the weekend.
Of the many bills introduced in the first week, the most material on the ICT market is likely to be the Jobs and Skills Australia Bill 2022, to establish an agency “to ensure Australia’s skills and higher education systems are responsive to current and emerging labour market and workforce needs and priorities.”
This new entity is likely to (eventually) have a major impact on both the ICT labour hire market and digital skills training.
The Labor Government hoped to pass the legislation during sittings in early September and fund the new agency in the October Budget, but the Greens and the Liberal-National Opposition voted to send the bill off to a committee for an eight-week long inquiry, an effective delaying tactic.
Private Cyber Skills Training Launched
Also during the first week of parliament, Minister for Cyber Security Clare O’Neil launched the CyberCX Academy, Australia’s largest private sector training initiative. The six-month program targeting university and TAFE graduates, school leavers, and people looking to cross-train or re-enter the workforce will provide students with paid on the job training.
The ABS confirmed that prices jumped 6.1% in the June quarter, the fastest annual increase in more than three decades. While much of this rise has been driven by high freight costs, supply constraints and demand for processed goods, the category of “Telecommunication equipment and services” rose by just 0.1%; or 0.3% in seasonally adjusted terms.
Unemployment heading up
The RBA is forecasting that inflation will go higher and economic growth will decline into the next financial year, warning the current 3.5 % unemployment rate will rise as a result.
ACT: Budget released
The ACT Budget was released at 5pm on Tuesday 2 August (and we will publish an analysis this week), the final jurisdiction to release its funding plans for the current financial year. In the lead up to the announcement, Chief Minister Andrew Barr confirmed that it will build one of the largest battery storage systems in the Southern Hemisphere, spread over 14 sites around the capital.
NSW: Additional responsibilities for Digital Minister
The NSW government is struggling under the weight of various scandals, with the John Barilaro saga entering its seventh week, and overshadowing a state trade mission to Asia. On Sunday night the premier sacked small business and fair trading minister Elini Petinos over unspecified bullying allegations, handing her responsibilities over to Victor Dominello, in addition to his existing responsibilities as Minister for Customer Service and Digital Government.
New Zealand: Borders Open
New Zealand borders fully reopened to all tourists and visa holders on Sunday 31 July 2022. The change will allow cruise ships, students, and those from non-visa waiver countries, such as China and India, to enter for the first time since March 2020. With the unemployment rate hovering below 3% in some regional areas, employers are optimistic that the change will take some pressure off the tight labour market.
USA: closer to free online tax returns
Buried deep down among the 735 pages of the momentous draft Inflation Reduction Act, announced overnight on 28 July, the US congress is proposing providing $15 million to the IRS to deliver a report on the cost of developing and running a free direct eFile tax return system (a feature currently only available for low income earners).
India: 5G spectrum auctions raise billions
India began auctioning 5G spectrum, with initial bids surpassing AU$25 billion, much higher than the government had anticipated. There were 40 rounds of bidding over seven days.