Government launches first AI action plan

By Shannon Jenkins

June 21, 2021

Christian Porter
Christian Porter. (AAP Image/Lukas Coch)

The federal government has unveiled its first action plan dedicated to establishing Australia as a global leader in developing and adopting responsible artificial intelligence (AI).

The plan, launched on Friday, sets out four key areas for government to focus on, including:

  1. Developing and adopting AI to transform Australian businesses,
  2. Creating an environment to grow and attract the world’s best AI talent,
  3. Using cutting-edge AI technologies to solve Australia’s national challenges,
  4. Making Australia a global leader in responsible and inclusive AI.

Industry, science and technology minister Christian Porter said the benefits of AI include protecting the environment, improving health outcomes, promoting smart cities, and boosting the economy.

“AI could contribute more than $20 trillion to the global economy by 2030, and the AI Action Plan will help us leverage opportunities for AI to further strengthen the economy and improve the quality of life of all Australians, while ensuring that the development and adoption of AI is guided by appropriate safeguards, privacy and ethical considerations,” he said.

READ MORE: AHRC calls for establishment of AI safety commissioner

The government allocated $124.1 million in funding through the May Budget to deliver some of the plan’s key measures. These include the establishment of a National Artificial Intelligence Centre ($53.8m) within CSIRO’s Data61, four AI and Digital Capability Centres, and a Next Generation AI Graduates Program ($24.7m).

Almost $34m will be used to support businesses to partner with government on pilot projects for AI-based solutions to national challenges, while $12m will help fund up to 36 competitive grants to develop AI solutions that address local or regional challenges.

Other actions outlined under the plan include boosting the Next Generation of Women in STEM program, the development of an Australian Data Strategy, and investing in Defence AI. 

The action plan forms part of the government’s Digital Economy Strategy, which aims for Australia to be a leading digital economy and society by 2030.

READ MORE: New Defence report explores ethical use of AI


About the author
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
The Mandarin Premium

Canberra’s changed

Stay on top for only $5 a week


Get Premium Today