The government of Australia has allocated AUD $700,000 (approx. $520,000) from its federal budget to its Digital Transformation Agency to research blockchain applications in government services.
Announced as a part of its 2018-19 federal budget, the government will use the funds from the Agency’s existing resources over the next four years.
An excerpt from the Budget document reads:
The Government will provide $0.7 million in 2018-19 for the Digital Transformation agency to investigate areas where blockchain technology could offer the most value for Government services.
Launched in 2015 as a part of the Australian Government’s wider digitization agenda, the Agency was initially set up to engage government agencies and help them undergo digital transformation. ‘We now have wide-ranging responsibilities to help lead transformation across government and have central oversight of the government’s ICT agenda,’ the Agency added, insisting that its role has grown since its founding days.
The budgeting follows a marked recommendation by the chief executive of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization – Australia’s federal scientific research organization – who in mid-2017 said the country “can’t afford” to follow the world in adopting the decentralized technology.
“The pace of change we are experiencing as a nation is exponential and we can’t afford to be followers in the adoption of [an] emerging technology like Blockchain,” CISRO chief Adrian Turner said at the time following comprehensive twin reports by the research agency exploring blockchain use cases in both government and industry.
In September, the Australian government published a consultation paper as a part of its Digital Economy Initiative and highlighted blockchain as an ‘emerging technology’ that could ‘support innovation and productivity right across the economy.” The same month, Melbourne-based RMIT, a public research university, established a research center to study the ‘social science’ of blockchain technology after firmly pinning the decentralized tech to be “a core infrastructure for the digital economy.”
Before the turn of the year, the government awarded an AUD $8 million grant to Power Ledger, a blockchain-powered solar energy project.
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