By James Riley
Federal Labor has adopted the Technology Council of Australia’s target of increasing the number of Australians employed in tech-related jobs by 340,000 to 1.2 million by the end of the decade.
Labor leader Anthony Albanese will on Thursday unveil plans to work with the tech sector on an industry plan to strengthen existing technology companies, create an environment that builds new startups, and to grow the number of technology jobs in this country.
The commitment is a huge win for the sector, opening up a range of possible policy discussions that create new pathways for local workforce skill development, and programmes that enable high-value technology expertise to be imported into the local innovation ecosystem.
According to Albanese: “As we look to the future, there are real opportunities for Australians to be employed in the sector and drive future economic growth.
“Too many experienced workers and businesses have left our shores due to the failure of the Morrison Government to back tech jobs in existing and emerging businesses.
“Technology is a core pillar for our economy and is considered equivalent to the third largest sector in the economy behind mining and banking. It stands as Australia’s seventh largest employing sector.”
Announcing the plans with shadow Industry minister Ed Husic, Mr Albanese will say the Labor focus on an additional 340,000 jobs would help more Australians get the skills needed to participate in well-paid work in a fast-growing industry.
According to Tech Council research the Australian tech sector currently contributes $167 billion annually to the economy, accounting for 8.5 per cent of GDP.
Mr Albanese wilkl say Labor will back the tech sector to reach its potential to contribute $250 billion to GDP and another 340,000 jobs by the end of the decade.
Labor would meet its targets through already announced plans for 465,000 fee-free TAFE places and an extra 20,000 university places focusing on high priority areas such as tech, as well as tech-heavy support for sovereign capability goals through its $15 billion National Reconstruction Fund.
Startup support would come through its Startup Year program that would offer 2,000 Commonwealth supported places at accredited university accelerators, giving support to aspiring entrepreneurs to commercialise their ideas and scale their products and services.
Mr Albanese will also reaffirm plans for government procurement reform to support Australian tech startups and existing technology firms by leveraging Commonwealth spending through Labor’s Buy Australian Plan.
Tech Council chair Robyn Denholm said tech jobs are a good deal for Australians: “Setting this goal [of 1.2 million jobs in tech by 2030] matters because it sends a clear signal to Australians that employers will sign-up to create these jobs, and there is a shared commitment to help Australians work in them, including through reskilling and training opportunities.
“We want to be an industry that creates great jobs for Australians, and that partners with governments to make sure Australians can get into them.”
This story first appeared in InnovationAus
Picture: Anthony Albanese
Subscribe to our free @AuManufacturing newsletter here.