Australian Government Unveils National Blockchain Roadmap

News and Analysis

The Morrison Government has unveiled a national blockchain strategy and roadmap that potentially could make Australia one of the leaders in the fintech sector. The news was announced in a joint media release from two Australian ministries on March 18, Cointelegraph reports.

As part of their strategy, the government will allocate AU$100,000 for local blockchain startups to take part in the annual Consensus conference in New York and showcase their products during one of the major crypto events of the year.

Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews and Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Simon Birmingham have jointly stated that the new policy roadmap aims to make Australia’s blockchain industry into a global leader.

“The national strategy puts us on the front foot in exploring how government and industry can enhance the long-term development of blockchain and its uses,” Minister Andrews said.

The authorities “will work closely with blockchain and technology experts from industry and academia […] as well as with CSIRO’s Data61 to incorporate findings from their forthcoming future scenarios report on blockchain,” she added.

CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation) is an Australian government corporate entity that undertakes scientific research to advance local industries. Its digital innovation center, Data61, has spearheaded multiple major blockchain projects to date.

The roadmap will encompass the development of blockchain “regulation, skills and capacity building, innovation, investment, and international competitiveness and collaboration.”

According to the announcement, previous blockchain investments from Australia’s liberal national government — under Prime Minister Scott Morrison — have included AU$700,000 (~$500,000) to the country’s Digital Transformation Agency in 2018-19 explore the benefits of using blockchain for government payments, as well as AU$350,000 (~$250,000) to Standards Australia to promote the development of standardized international blockchain standards.

Minister Birmingham emphasized that the government’s blockchain endorsement will help ensure that “Australia and [its] tech companies stay ahead of the game in one of the world’s fastest growing technology sectors.”

Over the course of the past year, major initiatives have been underway in Australia to integrate blockchain across both the government and the financial sector. In July 2018, IBM signed a five-year AU$1 billion ($740 million) deal with the Australian government to use blockchain and other new technologies to improve data security and automation across federal departments.

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