The Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) has called on the federal government to allocate $250 million in the May Budget to support Australia’s artificial intelligence (AI) efforts and ensure it doesn’t fall behind its international peers.
The AIIA has urged the government to provide significant funding to its National Artificial Intelligence (AI) Strategy, over the $29.9 million it currently contributes over four years. The government commissioned a study in November 2019 to assist its AI Roadmap, which outlines the many opportunities and benefits available from investing in a national AI strategy.
The AIIA has also urged the government to focus on research and development, and the commercialisation of innovative products and services. This will help maximise the return for Australian businesses and boost the AI sector to ensure Australian industries, such as agriculture, finance, health and manufacturing, remain internationally competitive.
AIIA CEO Ron Gauci noted that in order to fully support the National AI Strategy, the federal government must provide funding of around $250 million over the next four years. Gauci forecasts that this investment will provide an incredible return in the long term as AI and the ICT sectors expand, growing the economy and providing jobs.
“Australia must prepare our economy for the coming decade. We are increasingly seeing ICT and AI at the heart of every industry. The AIIA has provided feedback and advice on the proposed National AI Strategy; now is the time for the federal government to step up and commit their support,” said Gauci.
Gauci has urged the federal government to support the commercialisation of Australian AI innovators and secure the country’s economic independence for the future. With digital technologies, including AI, predicted to be worth $315 billion to the Australian economy by 2028 and 758,700 workers forecast to be involved in the Australian ICT sector by 2023, the impact AI has on the Australian economy must be maximised.
“A national integrated approach will support Australia’s economic strengths in sectors such as agriculture, mining and health. ICT and AI is increasingly involved in every sector; the federal government must show their commitment to the National AI Strategy by committing funding towards this in the 2021 federal Budget,” said Gauci.