Leaders in Australia’s technology sector including Google, Atlassian, Afterpay and Tesla have banded together to create Australia’s ‘Tech Council’ that will push for greater support for the sector.
A total of 25 companies, with Microsoft, Canva, Afterpay, Tyro and Airtasker among the ranks, will together be a “unified voice” of Australia’s tech industry lobbying to Australian governments.
Here’s a quick rundown of who they are, and what their goals are.
Who’s part of the Tech Council?
The new council is being led by ex-Telstra executive and now Tesla chair Robyn Denholm, who will be joined by a star-studded board that includes Atlassian co-CEO Scott Farquhar, Afterpay CEO Anthony Eisen, and Canva co-founder Cliff Obrecht.
The Council will also be led by former government ministers and business leaders, with former Accenture managing director Kate Pounder named as chief executive.
Here’s the full list of the Tech Council’s founding members:
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What will they do?
Australia's new Tech Council will focus on three core goals: create 1 million jobs in Australia’s tech sector by 2025 (there are currently 861,000); grow the industry’s contribution to national GDP to $250 billion by 2031; and make Australia a global startup hub.
Afterpay’s Eisen eventually wants Australia to be the “head office for global tech companies”.
According to Pounder, the tech industry was becoming one of Australia’s most important economic pillars, and is seventh-largest in terms of jobs and third in terms of value.
Australia’s tech industry generated $167 billion for Australia’s economy in the 2021 financial year, or 8.5 per cent of GDP, according to an Accenture report released to coincide with the launch of Tech Council.
“The boom in tech related jobs means there are now more software engineers and developers in Australia than hairdressers, plumbers, or high school teachers. That’s 1 in 16 working Australians,” Pounder said.
“We think we have a role in working constructively with governments and communit[ies] to try and help ensure our sector goes from strength to strength, and we keep creating those jobs and opportunities for Australia,” Pounder told the Fear and Greed podcast.
Denholm believes the tech sector has been crucial to Australia’s COVID-19 response, and can contribute to the economic recovery as well.
“While we have a lot of uncertainty across the rest of the economy. Technology has succeeded despite this uncertainty,” Denholm said.
“During the pandemic, the tech sector generated 65,000 jobs, one of the economy’s highest job creators.”
Technology is also the “enabler” driving productivity and growth in other sectors, including mining, agriculture, banking, and health, she added.
“As we rebuild our economy in the years ahead, technology has the potential to expand and create great jobs for our kids and grandkids.”