The Hon Scott Morrison MP.
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2 weeks ago
The Hon Scott Morrison MP
PRIME MINISTER: Well, thank you very much, Sundar, and thank you very much, Mel. It's great to be here today. And can I also join in my acknowledgement of the traditional owners, the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation. And can I acknowledge their elders past, present and future and emerging. Can I also, as is my custom, acknowledge any veterans who are with us here today and serving men and women of the Defence Forces, particularly those who may be joining us from elsewhere on the broadcast that we're streaming today. Can I also, of course, welcome my good friend and our Minister for the Digital Economy Jane Hume, who has been doing a tremendous job here in developing our digital economy strategy, which I'm so pleased today's announcement has backed in so strongly with the investment that Google has announced today. It's great also to have Larry Marshall, Dr Larry Marshall, Chief Executive of the CSIRO. I'm always absolutely overwhelmed every time I get to spend some time with the CSIRO and to understand the incredible frontiers that they are, they are actually exploring and taking Australia into. They have a proud history of doing that over a very long period of time and respected all around the world. Larry, in his own right, is a tremendous scientist and innovator, inventing eyesight lasers which enable lasers to be used safely in public. It's also wonderful to have Michael Goldman, the Charge d'Affaires from the United States Embassy who's here with us today, and we greatly appreciate the strong bilateral relationship that we have with the United States. They're a great partner and they're a great friend, and we work across so many different areas. And the Quad initiative, which President Biden is leading in bringing together India, Australia, Japan and the United States together to focus on these very types of issues and the contribution that advanced liberal democracies can make in our Indo-Pacific region is very exciting. And of course, I acknowledge my good friend Peter Verwer who is here with us also today and the great work he's doing, bringing the talent that's needed to be here to drive the research labs and the investors and the inventors and innovators and entrepreneurs, which will drive Australia's economy into the future. 
The announcement by Google is a $1 billion vote of confidence, I believe, in Australia's digital economy strategy. It is backing in the plan that we've set out. A $1 billion vote of confidence in our economic recovery and along with ensuring together with our great allies and partners in our region, the national security of Australia. Our challenge as we emerge from this pandemic in a very challenging world is to secure Australia's economic recovery. That is the challenge we face as we move into 2022, and Australia's digital strategy is central to securing that recovery. A plan that puts business, investors, entrepreneurs in the driver's seat to realise the opportunities that are ahead. Today's announcement by Google demonstrates that we are taking the right approach, and it recognises the digital leadership that is necessary for Australia to emerge as a top digital economy by 2030, not only in the role the government needs to play in enabling and supporting, but more importantly, recognising that it is great private capital investors and entrepreneurs that actually will drive this change. That's where it happens in a liberal democracy that has a market economy. We believe passionately in Australia that that entrepreneurship is actually what solves the world's biggest problems, whether it's realising the challenges of digital technology or indeed achieving what is needed to be achieved with low emissions energy into the future. Private capital investment, entrepreneurship, collaborating with the world's best scientists and researchers and innovators. That's what solves the problems, not taxes and regulation. So leadership in digital capability, skills, digital literacy, cyber security and safety, emerging technologies and AI and in developing research and industry partnerships with digital leaders such as Google. That's what our digital strategy is all about. The Australian government is embracing these opportunities, but we are not naive to the risks and the challenges. Above all, we need to ensure that we apply the same rules to the digital world that exist in the real world, and this is a challenge for governments. On one hand, we seek to encourage, of course, the massive investment in the jobs and opportunities that digital technologies that will generate here in Australia all of this for our economy, and I think Sundar put it so well, and I'm so appreciative of his leadership and his partnership in the relationship that he's been proactively forming with Australia and our government in assisting it and ensuring that this partnership can go to a whole new level, as he's announced today. 
On the other hand, we need to put it an equal amount of effort into making sure the digital world is safe and secure and trusted, because that is the only way I think that we can ensure that we can realise the opportunities of the digital world. This is the tightrope that we walk, and you can't have a world leading digital economy without actually doing both. We have to embrace and encourage and enable those going out and seizing these opportunities. But for those for whom they are seeking to serve, we've got to create the safe space for those technologies to have their best dividend. I want every Australian and every Australian business to understand the opportunities that digitalisation offers us. Every business in Australia is a digital business, every single one. From the doctors conducting telehealth, the farmers operating drones, the restaurants taking orders and the tradies planning their week, through to our world leading fintech, regtech and medtech operators. We know the truth of our world, that our lives, our businesses, even the geopolitical tectonic plates that are being transformed by the technologies that have been unleashed. This is a transformation that is only accelerating. Last year, Australia jumped five years ahead almost in the blink of an eye in digital adoption. All in the space of just a few short months as we found our way into the world's largest pandemic in a century. The adoption has consolidated in 2021, and it wasn't a blip, though. During this pandemic, almost 9 in 10 Australian firms have adopted new technologies. It has been a breakthrough. Pandemic didn't slow the change. It accelerated it. Making the most of this change is integral to the strong economic management the government is all about. In Australia, the estimates are that increased digitisation could add some $90 billion to our economy and create some 250,000 new jobs in the near future. And as you can see, as Larry will share the moment, right across the economy. It's just not people in high tech labs like the one which is excitedly being created here. It is all across the economy in all fields, from the classroom, out to the bush into our major cities. The newly formed Tech Council of Australia has estimated that technology is our third biggest sector after mining and financial services puts it in some perspective, and this sector is growing four times faster than the rest of our economy. We're building an ecosystem that invests in the digital literacy skills of our workforce that grows our R&D investment, is a magnet for engineers and scientists and technologists and removes the barriers to innovation because we either accelerate or we get left behind.
We're going to accelerate Australia, and today is proof of that. Sundar and I have talked many, many times about my desire for Australia to be front and centre in the changes that are occurring, and I genuinely appreciate that he is backed in this relationship with the significant investment that is Google is making here in Australia over the next five years. Our digital economy strategy is about Australia becoming the top 10 digital economy by 2030. And last week, our friends at Microsoft said they thought we were going to beat that. Good. Great. We like to meet and beat targets here in Australia because Australia is always interested in meeting and beating those targets. Today's announcement by Google is a fantastic announcement for Australia that will make a major contribution to achieving our goal. Google is a driving force behind the world's digital transformation and has amazing capabilities at its disposal. It is a thousand universities rolled into one. It's now ranked first in artificial intelligence research output in the United States, exceeding that of the next two institutions Stanford and MIT combined. The decision by Google has major benefits for Australian businesses as we engage with the economic recovery before us. It'll help keep Australian businesses connected with the best digital infrastructure, making them more productive and resilient. It's a big, it will bring more to STEM jobs to our shores, as we've heard, across engineering, computing science and AI. It will provide us with world leading capabilities in the new Google Research Hub. This is tremendously exciting, as well as partnerships with the CSIRO and Australian universities, enabling important research breakthroughs and encouraging the best Australian talent to stay on Australian soil. And as I know, Peter is keen to prove we'll be bringing more talent to Australia to be part of it because it's happening here in Australia when it comes to the digital economy. This is where you want to be if you want to be part of that and it'll have a ripple effect across our economy, supporting the creation of over 6,000 direct jobs and a total economic impact of some $6.7 billion to our economy and further expanding the digital ecosystem, which will be foundational to our economy in the decades ahead. Australia believes in these opportunities. 
Our Australian approach balances our optimism with our pragmatism as a nation. We see the opportunities across our economy, but that doesn't mean we're trying to be the next Silicon Valley. No, we just want to create something different here. We're creating our own opportunities. That's why our digital economy strategy is focused in the way it is. It's about getting those foundations right. And Google are investing in those foundations, putting the infrastructure and skills in place, making sure we drive that innovation and growing our local tech sector while also ensuring every other part of our economy, including our small and medium sized businesses, are applying that technology that we're plugged in. And it's about being a trusted partner that works with industry to resolve issues as they arise. And I particularly appreciate the approach that Google has taken to dealing with some difficult issues. But we sat down, we've worked through them and I think we've got the right result for both the citizens of Australia and for the technology future that we both want to embrace and the fact that Google has decided to invest in the way that they have, I think, seals that partnership. We have already worked together with the tech sector on so many fronts, and there are so many more that we need to work on. E-safety, extremist content, a critical infrastructure, working together on taxes and news media competition, all important issues that Google have been a productive partner in working through with these issues and more to come. We know that we can resolve them by continuing to work together. 
Sundar, Australians, we are well known for just getting on with it. We let our performance, what we achieve, speak for itself. But that doesn't mean that Australians should be shy about what we can achieve. We shouldn't forget that the start-up that eventually became Google Maps, as we've already said here today, was born here in Sydney. That Wi-Fi was invented here and as well that Australia has got some serious digital shops here. We've got massive potential to do more and Google get that, and this investment will help unlock that potential. So today it's a really great day for Australia, isn't it, Jane? It is an exciting day and the next chapter of the implementation of our digital economy strategy. And for those who believe in the potential of this sector, it's a great day for you as well because you've been looking forward to this day and I'm glad to be here with you. Let me finish on this point. I have great confidence in Australians. That's why I have great confidence in Australia's future, and I have great confidence in the way Australia works. And that it if it just invests in its people and trust them to get on with it. And that's why I'm confident about 2022 and beyond. That's why I'm confident about the economic recovery that I know that we can secure together. But I know how we do it. We've got to back Australians in with what they're doing with their choices, the investments they're making. Create those opportunities, but let them realise them and take them forward. That's how Google became a great company. That's how Australian companies have become great companies, not by governments telling them what to do or where to go. They got there because they have been able to realise their vision for their own organisations, and that's what will secure our recovery and a framework, a policy setting, an environment and a government that gets that, that gets it. That with that entrepreneurship, with that technology, with that investment in the partnerships that go with it, there is nothing that can stop us. Thank you all very much and thank you to Google.
Prime Minsters' Office