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30th September, 2020

PM announces $800m in stimulus for ‘JobMaker Digital Business Plan’

PM Scott Morrison has unveiled his government’s latest support package, the “JobMaker Digital Business Plan”, pledging an additional $800 million in financial support to expand the economy’s digital capabilities.

Ahead of next week’s budget release, the Prime Minister has unveiled an $800 million stimulus package, primarily focusing on investment into the growth of Australia’s digital economy and the creation of dynamic new jobs in wake of the country’s first recorded recession in almost 30 years.

Key takeaways:

  • The Government will be making engagement between its agencies and industry easier through a super-merger of all business registers
  • Funds will be allocated to assist businesses expand their digital capabilities and take their offerings online
  • e-Invoicing to become mandatory for government agencies by mid-2022
  • The Government’s Digital Identity Program to receive significant cash injection

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The lion’s share of the funds announced within this new stimulus program are poised to be injected into the expansion and streamlining of the Australian Business Register, combining it with some 31 other registers used by government agencies.

Achieving this merger across all government registers is expected to make government and industry engagement far more efficient than it currently is and has been given a $420 million price tag.

Additionally, the Government has pledged some $120 million to assist businesses take on digital practices and technologies, including support with the uptake of 5G, and the promotion of Australian fintech companies in export markets.

According to SmartCompany, $19.2 million will be handed out to Australian businesses to help them take their businesses online, a need which has proved crucial as contactless business continues to become a mainstream practice.

Under this new program, the PM has also announced his plans to allocate $3.6 million to implement a transition from paper invoicing systems to e-invoices across all Commonwealth agencies, with the expectation that by mid-2022, digital invoicing will become mandatory.

READ: Here’s what small businesses are looking for in this year’s Federal Budget

The remaining funds are set to be put towards other measures of digital expansion, including updates to the Digital Identity Program, which forms part of the technology that underpins the way business directors engage with government agencies.

In a statement announcing the release of this new support package, Morrison said that these measures were all about accelerating the economy’s recovery through the replacement of dated processes.

“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 country,” he said.

The Guardian reported that $7 million of these funds will be used to support two business-led pilot programs testing the benefits of blockchain technology and its adaption to regulatory compliance issues.

Business Council Australia chief executive Jennifer Westacott welcomed today’s announcements, saying that these measures are crucial in helping Australia move toward an all-digital economy.

“These changes help set us up for the future,” Westacott said in a press release.

“The pandemic has taught us that many of the old ways of working are outdated, the Government is rightly acting to position us for the future.”