Australian government’s digital business plan includes USD 5 million for blockchain

Australia’s Prime Minister has announced the Federal Government’s largest investment in blockchain to date; two pilots will receive almost US$5 million.

The Australian government this week unveiled its USD 574 million Digital Business Plan which includes seven-figure grants for distributed general ledger technology initiatives.

Announced by Prime Minister Scott Morrison ahead of next week’s Federal Government budget, the plan outlines USD 4.95 million in support of „two blockchain pilots aimed at reducing business compliance costs“. Morrison said:

„The plan supports Australia’s economic recovery by removing outdated regulatory barriers, boosting small business capacity and supporting technology adoption across the economy.

Piper Alderman partner Michael Bacina told Cointelegraph that these two projects are important „to help demonstrate and unlock the value of the block chain:

„With the acceleration of blockchain adoption around the world, this funding is a very welcome boost to the Australian block chain industry and our local expertise“.

As part of the plan, $480 million has been allocated to various technology initiatives that could intersect distributed ledger technologies, including $183 million for a new digital identity system and $301 million for the development of a single business register, which would allow businesses to quickly view, update and maintain their business registration data in one place.

The head of the National Blockchain, Chloe White, from the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources, called the direct funding „a major victory for Australia’s current block chain“ and added that „it is the largest investment the Government has made in the sector“.

Over the past eight months, White has worked closely with industry leaders to implement Australia’s National Blockchain Roadmap and announced the creation of two working groups on supply chains and educational credentials. White said:

„These pilots will complement the National Blockchain Roadmap, which is driving working groups on RegTech, supply chains, cyber security and credentials.

Throughout 2020, the government has shown increasing interest in distributed ledger (DLT) technology and the application of the blockchain. In September, the Select Committee on Financial Technology (FinTech) and Regulatory Technology (RegTech) published an interim report with over 50 blockchain citations. Presentations to the committee reported that the potential of the blockchain is „estimated at USD 175 billion annually within five years and USD 3 trillion by 2030“.