To help strengthen the blockchain industry throughout Australia, Karen Andrews, the country's minister for industry, science, and technology, and Simon Birmingham, the minister for trade, tourism, and investment, have issued a joint press release outlining the country's blockchain strategy and planned project funding. In their announcement, the two ministers detail Australia's goal to become a leader in the nascent blockchain industry by focusing its research and development on "regulation, skills and capacity building, innovation, investment, and international competitiveness and collaboration."
The press release makes note of the governmental funding that has already gone into promoting blockchain technology, including 700,000 Australian dollars (AU) (around $497,000) to the Digital Transformation Agency to investigate the benefits of using blockchain for government payments, and AU$350,000 (around $248,000) to Standards Australia to develop international blockchain standards.
As for current funding, Andrews says her department will receive AU$100,000 (around $71,000) to assist local companies in joining the Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade) and going to Consensus 2019. While at Consensus, the companies who joined Austrade and attend the event will be able to showcase their product "on the world-stage," which Birmingham believes is an important step in helping the Australian companies reach new investors and expand their business globally.
Furthermore, to help Australia's blockchain tech companies "stay ahead of the game in one of the world's fastest growing technology sectors," both Andrews' and Birmingham's departments will work with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research OrganIzation (CSIRO) to help develop a "future scenarios report" on the state of blockchain technology in the country. The press release says the future scenarios report will include research from CSIRO and its research division, Data61, which, from October 2018 to November 2018, successfully completed a trial of its blockchain-powered application. The app uses EDCCs (aka smart contracts) to distribute disability insurance payments, reducing the risk of disability insurance fraud and reportedly saving the payment receiver and/or their caregiver one to 15 hours per week in paperwork.
In September 2018, CSIRO and Data61 also partnered with the University of Sydney for a project dubbed Red Belly Blockchain, which sought to increase a blockchain network's scalability without increasing electrical consumption. The project was able to set a benchmark of 30,000 transactions per second from different geographical regions, including North America, South America, and Europe.
As for today's joint press release, the two ministers note that previous rounds of governmental blockchain funding, and the most recent AU$100,000 round, are part of a $1 billion national innovation and science agenda working toward job creation and implementing blockchain tech into Australian industries, including finance, legal, agriculture, and supply chains.