Federal Budget

Australian Federal Budget stops the quibbling over quantum funding

Shane Genziuk
16 May 2024
4 min read

Renewed financial investment and support for existing and emerging technologies were announced by the Albanese Government, aimed at maintaining Australia’s hi-tech competitive position. These measures are discussed in brief below.

Building for a quantum computing future

The Federal Government in conjunction with their Queensland counterparts will invest close to $1 billion in funding (through equity and loans) for use by quantum computing firm PsiQuantum. Quantum technology promises a future of computer processing power currently unavailable to us, and would dramatically accelerate many fields of discovery, such as medicine, secure communications, materials science, risk management and AI.

This investment will fund the establishment of a Brisbane based research centre to house the next generation of quantum computing and related infrastructure. Once built, the facility is expected to create up to 400 high tech jobs and support an emerging quantum computing and advanced manufacturing community.

The Australian and QLD governments are betting on PsiQuantum with other investors, joining Microsoft, BlackRock, the UK Government and US agencies such as DARPA (an advanced research function which helped with the creation of the Internet). This shared venture aligns with the Australian and UK governments November 2023 joint statement to cooperatively advance quantum technology, as does our involvement with the US through the shared innovation alliance and various security arrangements.

The challenge in realising the promise of quantum computing is a shift from a theoretical to practical working solution of the technology, which is yet to be realised. Building the hardware to make reliable use at scale of sub-atomic particles (quantum bits, or qubits), which generate the calculations, is progressing but still out of reach. This Federal Budget announcement confirms us joining a speculative venture which if successful, will transform our understanding of the universe and our ability to leverage the forces which guide it.

Building a faster internet

Announced prior to this Federal Budget, the Federal Government is investing an additional $1.2 billion on performance upgrades for the National Broadband Network (NBN). If you have ever been left wondering why your online speeds can’t keep ahead of the requirement for multiple devices streaming and downloading, this initiative may come as a relief.

The additional fibre optic rollouts aim at connecting up to 10 million homes and businesses to gigabit speeds within the next 2 years. These speeds are many times faster than the commonly used 50 or 100 Mbps plans, increasing those speeds to 1Gbps and beyond. These upgrades will help support an entire household on a fast and uninterrupted Internet connection, for work or leisure, and throughout the whole day and evening.

Slowing down the risk of scams

This Federal Budget provides a needed allocation of $12.4 million to reduce the incident of scam calls, improving our experience when participating in the digital economy. Which will be most welcome by most of us that have been on the receiving end of multiple SMS and sales calls through the day,. While waiting for these improvements to be implemented, there are steps available today to help minimise the impact of cybercrime.

These include:

  • Difficult password or PIN: Secure your portable device with a password or a PIN that is easy to remember but difficult to guess.

  • Back-up your files: Regularly back-up your files so you can get back to work quickly and encrypt your device so that the hard drive cannot be used even if removed.

  • Automatic updates: Turn on automatic updates for your devices and avoid downloading software from the Internet unless it is directly through the vendor (i.e. Microsoft) and avoid public Wi-Fi hotspots unless absolutely necessary.

  • Multi-factor authentication: For your business website, ensure you have enabled multi-factor authentication (MFA) for your administration accounts to minimise the chances of unauthorised access. Make sure you have backups of all your website content and data in case you need to restore from scratch.

  • Enable HTTPS for your website: Improve security and improve your website rankings by enabling HTTPS for your website.

Should you have any questions regarding the Federal Budget announcements, technology changes, and cybersecurity, please contact the Findex digital specialist team or reach out to your local Findex advisor.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author/s and do not necessarily reflect the thought or position of Findex.

Author: Shane Genziuk | Head of Technology Experience

Shane is a senior leader and current Head of Technology Experience at Findex. Shane has a keen interest in understanding how society is shaped by technological forces, today and into the future. He holds a Doctor of Business Administration from Deakin University (Corporate Philanthropy) and Master of Business and Technology from the AGSM. In his spare time he enjoys cycling, sauna, and The Economist.