Budget 2022 unveils more support to make Australia a digital economy

- By Collaborative Media & Publishing
The Federal Government plans to bolster the take-up of e-invoicing and digital identity, strengthen cyber-security, and expand the Consumer Data Right (CDR) to new sectors.

Its latest plans were unveiled in the 2022 Budget, signalling its ongoing commitment to making Australia a top 10 digital economy and society by 2030.

While the Australian economy remains strong thanks to lower-than-expected unemployment and soaring commodity prices, digital innovation will play a central role powering future growth.

The government’s Digital Economy Strategy outlines how it plans to reshape the country, and will receive a significant funding boost over the next four years.

“BPAY Group welcomes the Government’s pledge to spend $130.1 million over four years to continue the implementation of its Digital Economy Strategy,” BPAY Group Chief Operating Officer Hugh Frames says.

An election in mid-May could change some of the Budget commitments if Labor wins power. However, it is expected to match most of the pledges.

Digital ID funding boost

While most Australians now prefer digital forms of payment rather than cash, the delivery of services via web or mobile applications remains hamstrung by the need for proof of identity.

A trusted digital id process, which can offer higher protections against fraud and identity theft, is a key part of the answer.

Frames says the Federal Government’s decision to allocate $1.8 million in the Budget to further develop its digital identity system (via the Digital Transformation Agency) was positive.

“We will continue to work with the Digital Identity Ministerial Advisory Council (DIMAC), that will advise on a strategic direction and roadmap for digital identity in NSW,” Frames said.

The Budget funding will be used to help develop the governance, regulatory frameworks and funding arrangements associated with Digital Identity legislation.

Incentives for small businesses to endorse e-invoicing and digital services

The take-up of e-invoicing – when invoices are sent securely between each business' accounting systems rather than emailed as a PDF – has been slow despite research showing that is could cut approximately $20 in processing costs per invoice[1].

A new Budget incentive could change the situation, with a rebate offering a $120 tax deduction for every $100 a small business spends on digital technologies like e-invoicing, payment devices, cloud computing, cyber security and web design.

The incentive is capped at $100,000 and also applies to employee training.

The Federal Government has previously announced that all Commonwealth agencies will adopt e-invoicing by July 1, which are already paid within five days.

Meanwhile, businesses could benefit from faster payment times with the Budget allocating $10.4 million over two years from 2022-23 to enhance and redesign the Payment Times Reporting Portal and Register.

Consumer Data Right continues to expand

The Consumer Data Right – allows Australians to share their data between service providers, strengthening competition and bolstering innovation.  

It has been active in the banking sector since mid-2020 with other sectors such as energy and telcos flagged in future. The Budget has allocated new funding that will make further expansion of the scheme easier, Frames says.

“The $38.4 million allocated over three years (and $12.6 million per year ongoing from 2025-26) to accelerate the CDR program will add new capabilities and further expand the CDR ecosystem in years to come, potentially including the superannuation and energy sectors,” he says.

Cyber-security strengthened

While small businesses will receive new incentives to invest in digital services, including cyber security (see above), the Budget has also set aside major expenditure to bolster the nation’s cyber-security defences.

The Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) will receive $9.9 billion in funding over the next decade to implement a Resilience, Effects, Defence, Space, Intelligence, Cyber and Enablers package (REDSPICE).

The program will double the ASD’s size, as well as double its “hunt and response activities” to help address the rising threat posed by malicious cyber actors.

The Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) received more than 67,500 cybercrime reports in 2020–21 – an increase of nearly 13 per cent from the previous financial year.

Meanwhile, Frames also said the Budget was also supporting greater diversity in the tech sector.

“We’re delighted that $3.9 million will be spent over two years to support increased career opportunities for women in Australia’s tech sector,” he says.

“As supporters of the development of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) skills in the workplace for women, we also commend the Women in STEM Ambassador and Future You national digital awareness-raising initiatives that will receive a $4.7 million boost over four years.”
 
[1] Deloitte Access Economics, 2016, “The Economic Impact of E-Invoicing”.

Published by BPAY Pty Ltd (ABN 69 079 137 518) email: marketing@bpay.com.au. The BPAY Scheme is managed by BPAY Pty Limited.  When you use BPAY payment products, the BPAY Scheme is paid fees relating to processing costs and BPAY Scheme membership.  Contact your financial institution to see if it offers BPAY payment products and to get the Product Disclosure Statement.  Any financial product advice provided by BPAY Pty Limited in relation to BPAY payment products is general advice only and has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs.  Before acting on such advice, you should review the Product Disclosure.

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