DIGITAL SKILLS AND JOBS PROGRAM

FREGON (Mount Waverley) (09:48): I rise to inform the house about the Andrew Labor government’s commitment to tech, innovation and jobs growth, particularly in the digital space, and how we are working with industry to identify the digital needs of the Victorian businesses in the lead-up to the launch of the $64 million digital skills and jobs program. Back in March I had the privilege to chair an industry roundtable on behalf of the Minister for Innovation, Medical Research and the Digital Economy, where representatives shared their views on the demand for digital skills. For this program to be successful we know it must be designed and delivered in partnership with industry, which is why we invited companies like ANZ, Carsales, Zendesk and many others to help shape the design and delivery of the program to ensure it benefits business in the short and long term.

Last week I also had the honour to represent the minister at the Australian Computer Society’s ACS Australia’s Digital Pulse report launch, where three key areas for improvement were identified, including ensuring all Australian workers have the technology skills required by employers, promoting gender diversity in the technology workforce and increasing professionalisation. As a government we are backing all three priority areas with our tech and innovation investment. A report by Deloitte commissioned by our startup agency, LaunchVic, highlighted that the Victorian startup ecosystem has the potential to support an additional 15 000 jobs each year for the next 20 years. We as a government recognise the critical importance of continually improving digital infrastructure across our state, which is why we have committed $625.8 million over the next few years. We are backing our digital businesses in.