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Two Ministers’ thoughts on blockchain in Oz

19 Mar 2019

Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews, and Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Senator Simon Birmingham have released a joint statement on the national blockchain roadmap and extra $100,000 funding it is putting into the distributed ledger technology.

The roadmap will focus on a number of policy areas including regulation, skills and capacity building, innovation, investment, and international competitiveness and collaboration. 

Minister Andrews says that Australia needs to seize the opportunities presented by blockchain.  

“The national strategy puts us on the front foot in exploring how government and industry can enhance the long-term development of blockchain and its uses,” she says.

“We will work with closely with blockchain and technology experts from industry and academia to develop the strategy, as well as with CSIRO’s Data61 to incorporate findings from their forthcoming future scenarios report on blockchain. 

“In addition, $100,000 funding will come through my department for Australian companies to join Austrade’s Mission to Consensus in New York in May, a landmark event for the blockchain industry, demonstrating the Morrison Government’s commitment to boosting this sector.” 

Minister Birmingham says that Australia’s strength in the development of blockchain technology for business was already giving the nation a competitive edge across a wide range of industries including agriculture, fintech, resources and services. 

“It is vital Australia and our tech companies stay ahead of the game in one of the world’s fastest growing technology sectors,” Minister Birmingham said.  

“Austrade’s upcoming mission will connect Australian blockchain companies and start-ups with investors and customers with a view to expanding their businesses globally. Consensus is the leading event for blockchain globally and will present significant opportunities for Australian tech companies to showcase their products on the world-stage.”

Previous investment by Government in blockchain technology includes $700,000 to the Digital Transformation Agency in 2018–19 to investigate the benefits of using blockchain for government payments, and $350,000 to Standards Australia to lead the development of international blockchain standards through the International Organisation for Standardisation.

Blockchain is a distributed ledger technology that records and verifies transactions within a computer network with potential applications for business and governments. 

It can assure and secure transactions, demonstrating usefulness across Australian industries including finance, legal, agriculture and supply chains.