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Labor promises $1B Critical Technologies Fund if elected

If elected, a Labor Government will expand Australia’s critical technology capability, in areas like Artificial Intelligence, robotics, software development and quantum computing, says Labor leader Anthony Albanese in a statement on 13 May.

It will set up a Critical Technologies Fund to deliver $1 billion in investment support through loans, equity and guarantees for businesses in critical technologies, he said. The Critical Technologies Fund will be set up within a Labor government’s $15 billion National Reconstruction Fund, designed to rebuild and strengthen Australian industry as we emerge from the pandemic.

“With waves of emerging technology in recent years, Australian know-how has been recognised for its huge potential – only for the nation to lose its lead because the Morrison Government has dragged its feet in backing local talent and local industry,” he said.

“From artificial intelligence to blockchain development, we suffered a brain drain as Australians moved overseas to countries that valued their skill. As a result we have lost commercial opportunities and jobs.”

Australian investment in high-tech manufacturing has been stagnant at less than 0.5 per cent of GDP under the incumbent Morrison Government, Albanese added. The application of technology such as AI is sharpening the way businesses operate and supercharging their economies. It’s why countries have developed their own national AI investment programs while Australia lagged woefully behind.

“Our $1 billion Critical Technologies Fund is an investment in building strategic industry capability in Australia, powering future economic growth, growing jobs – and avoiding a brain drain that is sapping our country of vital talent,” said Labor frontbencher Ed Husic MP.

With Australian talent leading the charge on the development of quantum computing and technology, Labor says it is determined to ensure Australia doesn’t lose its national competitive edge.

“As interest rates begin to rise and as capital becomes harder to obtain than previous years, we want to make sure that there is a national co-investment fund – working with superannuation and venture capital funds – to back our leading thinkers and their firms,” Albanese said.

“Labor believes in a Future Made in Australia,” said Albanese. “That’s why we have proposed:

  • Our $15 billion National Reconstruction Fund.
  • Our Buy Australia Plan to leverage government procurement to build strategic industry capability
  • Creating a Startup Year program to create 2,000 new enterprises a year

A commitment to work with industry to deliver 1.2 million tech jobs by 2030.”

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