Investment in AI, tech skills, data quality and public IT infrastructure have topped the list of budget allocation in this year’s Federal Budget for technology.


The Federal Government announced over $2.8 billion in planned investments in technology systems and policy development over the next four years, a significant increase from last year’s $2 billion.

Leading technology experts share their views on these investment tactics and what it really takes to drive innovation in Australia.

Opener: Bill Loizou from Amperity. Image: supplied.


AI Governance and Best Practice

The budget has revealed 39.9 million over five years to support AI technology adoption in a safe and responsible manner. This includes $21.6 million for a reshaped National AI Centre. A further $2.6 million has been allocated to respond to and mitigate against national security risks related to AI.

Meanwhile an additional $2.2 million has been allocated in 2024–25 for the Prime Minister & Cabinet for projects to uplift capability across the Australian Public Service, including AI integration and enhancing the quality of data to inform policy analysis.

“Generative AI has been the fastest-adopted technology, and by far the fastest-adopted business technology, in history. As it has been widely publicised, it will likely transform many industries in the short term and probably all of them over the long term,” says Billy Loizou, Area VP APAC, Amperity.


Andrew Gunnis, co-founder of GPTStrategic. Image: supplied.


Spotlight on the tech skills gap

The Federal Government has also allocated $10.6 million for implementing a reporting solution for the Australian Skills Guarantee, and for a business case to develop a modern ICT solution for Trades Recognition Australia to assess migrants’ skills.

“As has also been well publicised, Australia has a shortage of IT professionals. And while Australians are, in general, relatively data literate, given how central data is becoming to all our lives, there’s room for improvement there as well,” Loizou explains.

“One easy win would be for the Federal Government, ideally in partnership with the Australian tech industry, to finance and promote widespread digital skills training, ideally starting with a module on ‘prompt engineering’. That would mean more Australians – and their co-workers and employees – could more fully benefit from the incredible tools now readily available.”

Andrew Gunnis, co-founder of GPTStrategic agrees. He said  the time is now to narrow the gap with other OECD nations and we must get serious about addressing the skills gap.

“That’s not solely a Federal Government responsibility, but it could be more proactive in partnering with private industry to deliver the digital skills training Australians will increasingly need,” he adds.

“Either to do their current jobs or to find a new one if their industry gets disrupted. Ideally, we’d also stop or at least slow the brain drain, which gets back to the government providing more funding overall to grow the local tech ecosystem. Finally, some more generous R&D support for SMEs now might just result in more Atlassians and Canvas in a few years.”


Jay Kim of Nexxen. Image: supplied.


Tackling cyber security frameworks

Investment in cybersecurity remains top priority in the technology allocation of this year’s Federal Budget, including significant investments in upgrading the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission’s IT systems and improve cyber security.

Government departments like DFAT, APRA, ASIC and DPS, have also received significant funding totalling over $400 million across 4 years to improve data capability and cyber security, amongst other outcomes.

“A robust cyber security framework can significantly boost consumer trust in digital platforms,” says Jay Kim, Director, Analytics & Platform Solutions for APAC at Nexxen. “With increased cyber security measures, businesses can assure users that their data is protected, encouraging consumers to engage more confidently when sharing personal information .”

“More policies are needed to ensure towards more secure digital operations, which also enhances Australia’s industry’s reputation as privacy-conscious and stimulate innovation for the future.”


Jonathan Reeve of Eagle Eye. Image: supplied.


 Missing a trick: Tech business innovation investment overlooked

While the budget has been far more generous this year in its technology allocation, experts agree more should be done to drive tech business innovation, tech startups and entrepreneurship. In fact, the word ‘startup’ only appeared once across all four budget papers.

“The budget needs to away from trying to ‘pick technology winners,’ as governments typically have a woeful record compared to professional investors,” says Jonathan Reeve, Vice President APAC, Eagle Eye. It’s been worrying to see Australia heading down this path recently with the $15 billion National Reconstruction Fund and $2 billion Breakthrough Victoria fund.

I’d much prefer incentives that make it easier for all investors and businesses. For example, tax offsets for businesses investing in technology and tax incentives for early-stage technology investors.”

Access the full Federal Budget report here.

For more on tech, innovation and AI, check out our Technology section here.