The Federal Government has pledged to boost its digital economy strategy to support businesses and alleviate the potential downside impacts of the JobKeeper deadline.
The 2021/2022 Federal Budget included a $1.2bn fund for the digital economy strategy, which is expected to drive investment in emerging technologies.
The strategy includes a $100m fund for building digital skills including a pilot for work-based digital cadetships. This will also go towards building the cyber workforce and scholarships for tech graduates.
Roughly $124m will be set aside for AI investments, including a National Artificial Intelligence Centre and a network of AI and Digital Capability Centres.
Emerging technologies like drones will be given $35.7m while the uptake of e-invoicing will receive a $15.3m funding.
Also included in the strategy is the $12.7m allocation for the expansion of the Digital Solutions - Australian Small Business Advisory Service.
Harley Dale, Chief Economist at CreditorWatch, said this investment to digital technology is the cornerstone of the government's support for businesses.
"It’s especially pleasing to see the federal government allocate funding to e-invoicing, which will help speed up payment times across every industry," he said.
According to the latest Business Risk Review by CreditorWatch, twice as many industries reported a deterioration in payment times in April versus March.
"The Federal Government’s initiatives to drive growth are entirely appropriate given CreditorWatch’s data shows while the economy continues to tick along, the end of JobKeeper is affecting businesses. "
However, Dale said the Federal Government has overlooked incentives to drive long-term private business investment in its latest budget. He said the segment would help provide support for a sustainable economic recovery.
"The government has paid a lot of attention to championing short-term positive results for small businesses but there’s not enough detail around how it plans to sustain growth," he said.