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Big news for small businesses looking to go digital to recover from the downturn and grow. The Morrison government announced on 29 September and then confirmed in the 2020-21 Budget, that it’s investing almost $800M as part of its JobMaker Digital Business Plan. This initiative is designed to help small businesses take advantage of digital tech as part of a focus on increasing productivity by encouraging Aussie businesses to adopt digital tech.
Why are SMBs adopting digital tech?
As small and medium businesses are painfully aware, the pandemic has thrown a lot of challenges our way. For many, that has meant a swift move to adopt new technologies to keep their businesses afloat and continue to meet changing customer demand. Things like moving to online sales and delivery channels and automating processes to remove the need for face to face interaction.
“Many businesses moved online quickly when the pandemic hit, undergoing a decade of change in months, finding new customers or new ways of doing things,” the Prime Minister said.
Enabling a digital drive to recovery
For businesses that haven’t yet embraced digital technology, this year’s budget is about supporting businesses to fast track the move. Businesses that adopt technology quickly will not only help the country recover from COVID-19, but also drive productivity, income growth, and new jobs creation needed to compete in today’s challenging economic environment.
The Prime Minister said “Our JobMaker Digital Business Plan provides significant backing to continue that digital push and expand opportunities for businesses to grow and create more jobs.
“The Plan supports Australia’s economic recovery by removing out-dated regulatory barriers, boosting the capability of small businesses and backs the uptake of technology across the economy.”
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg added that the Government was investing in Australia’s digital economy to help businesses stay open and keep Australians in jobs.
“The Governments’ Digital Business plan is targeted at building on this digital transformation of Australian businesses to drive productivity and income growth and create jobs,” the Treasurer said.
Key takeaways from the JobMaker Digital Business Plan
There are 5 pillars to the government’s Digital Business Plan. Here’s what’s included.
Modern digital infrastructure and skills
- $29.2 million to speed up the 5G rollout, including investing in 5G commercial trials and testbeds in key industries like logistics and manufacturing
- $4.5 billion NBN investment to bring ‘ultra-fast broadband’ to families and businesses
- $2.5 million for digital skills training
Fit for purpose regulatory settings
- Make business laws and regulations tech neutral, allow companies to hold virtual meetings and execute documents electronically
- Expand the Consumer Data Right to energy, invest in implementation arrangements for Open Banking
- $9.6 million to support fintechs to export financial services and attract investment
- RegTech Commercialisation Initiative and blockchain pilots to reduce compliance costs
- Influence international standards for digital and critical technology
SME support and capability
- $22.2 million to support small businesses to take advantage of digital tech through the Australian Small Business Advisory Service expansion – Digital Solutions program, a Digital Readiness Assessment tool, and a Digital Directors training package
- Leveraging big business-SME partnerships to support SME digital adoption
- New Digital Directors training to improve digital investment decision-making
- New Digital Skills Finder platform to improve support for SMEs and individuals
Digital Government that is easier to do business with
- $256.6 million to develop a Digital Identity system to improve access to Government services
- $419.9 million for Modernising Business Registers (MBR) program implementation, so businesses can view, update, and maintain data in one place
- $3.6 million to mandate electronic invoicing by 1 July 2022 for all Commonwealth government agencies for businesses supplying to government and within their supply chains
- Enhancing the domestic payments system to improve the adoption of digital solutions
Trust and security
The Government also plans to grow digital skills and to improve cybersecurity, including a $1.67 billion investment in the 2020 Cyber Security Strategy. This aims to keep Australian businesses and families safe online and increase overall trust in being part of a digital economy.
Go digital to grow your business and support the economy
We welcome the government's digital initiatives and continued support for small and medium Aussie business to drive economic recovery. And we look forward to playing our part in making our country a ‘leading digital economy’ by 2030.
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