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Australia Finally Enters the Space Race

Space stations and drones galore! With the release of the Federal Budget this week, it looks as if Australia is finally waking up to the wondrously innovative, and immensely profitable, world of technology.

In the frenzied media hype that follows the budget’s release, technology is an area that is often overlooked. Usually the news is plagued with discussion about income inequality, housing affordability and the ‘kitchen table budget’ of working families, as Treasurer Scott Morrison put it.

And with the coalition proposing income tax cuts, worth over $140 billion in the next decade, plus a reduction in the number of tax brackets, there is plenty to talk about.

However, I’ll leave the specifics of the tax cuts alone for now, and instead focus on the boost for Australia’s science and technology space.

Because in the coalition’s proposed budget, Australia’s technology industries are truly in for a treat.

A treat worth $2.4 billion, to be exact.

Kicking off with a bang, the government is proposing to spend $41 million on the space industry. Which, notably, will include $26 million to begin building Australia’s very own National Space Agency.

Australia is the only OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) country still without a space agency. So bringing Australia onto the global space scene is a step in the right direction for our economy and the proliferation of jobs.

As the space industry is worth $340 billion globally, this is an investment that the budget is certain will ‘drive investment, create jobs and continue Australia’s participation in the global space economy.

In addition, another $15 million will be dedicated to the International Space Investment project, which will work to provide grants to space projects.

This is a move that many are predicting will spark the beginning of commercial space travel. Which, if achieved, is incredibly exciting not only for investors…but for those of us (hopefully all) who still have a child-like curiosity about the universe.

Moving on to technology, $140 million will be put towards supercomputing, which is double the $70 million commitment in last year’s budget.

What will this government funding achieve?

From this funding, a long list of tech projects are set to benefit. As Scott Morrison listed off:

World class satellite imagery, more accurate GPS across Australia, upgrading the Bureau of Meteorology’s technology platform, a national space agency and leading research in artificial intelligence.

The 29.9 million that will be invested into AI and machine learning is an interesting one. The goal is to spike innovation across health, energy, mining, agriculture and cyber security — revolutionising key industries, and allowing Australia to keep up with the unfurling global trend of automation.

Meanwhile, $700,000 will be devoted to the research and development of blockchain technology. Again, the coalition has said this spending will be the key that unlocks the mysteries of the blockchain, and enables the government to take full advantage of the opportunities it provides. This could result in a new way of voting, registration and making payments.

In a similar vein, the budget has also pledged $2.9 million to the Civil Aviation Authority, which will increase safety standards for the use of drones in Australia. 

Mainly though, the budget is dedicated to tech research and development at large. $1.9 billion of the total $2.4 billion will be put towards establishing Australia as a leading tech innovator. As the Minister for Jobs and Innovation, Michaelia Cash, confirmed in a statement:

Technological breakthroughs [like] wi-fi … have roots in our globally recognised research infrastructure. This funding will ensure ground-breaking research continues and that researchers and industry have greater access to cutting-edge facilities.’

With all the lights now shining on the sectors responsible for world class innovation, now is a great time to be an Australian tech investor. Australia is finally entering the 21st century, after stubbornly lagging behind leading technology pioneers like the USA and Japan for decades.

If you’re not already, now is the time to start following the tech space. It’s already buzzing with opportunities for savvy investors who have been able to remain ahead of the curb.

That said, it can be daunting task to sift through the forerunners of tech and predict the winners. To get a head-start, you can check out our newest publication Wealth Eruption, which was created to do the hard work for you. To find out WE’s latest recommendations, click here.

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