Digital technologies and data are increasingly important for Australia’s economy. Policies that promote digital innovation and adoption are needed to drive productivity growth.
The Productivity Commission’s second interim report of its 5-year Productivity Inquiry examines the role data and digital tools and applications can play in Australia’s continued prosperity.
“Digital technology and data have already transformed our economy and society, but we have not yet tapped into their full potential,” Commissioner, Dr Stephen King said.
“Technologies such as artificial intelligence, robotic automation and big data analytics could revolutionise how businesses operate and help lift Australia’s productivity growth by reducing costs, improving the quality of goods and services, and increasing product choice for consumers.”
The report identifies several barriers that could limit further adoption of digital technologies including inadequate internet, lack of skills, uncertainty about benefits, security concerns, cost and legacy systems.
“We do well in Australia on basic aspects of technology and data use, like internet coverage, but are falling behind in more advanced areas such as business uptake of analytics and artificial intelligence,” Dr King said. “We also need fast, reliable and affordable internet to enable businesses to take up advanced digital technologies.”
“Government can help by improving investment in digital infrastructure, particularly in rural and remote Australia, forming digital partnerships with the private sector, and ensuring we have a future ready workforce.
“Businesses of all sizes also should be encouraged to invest in digital technologies and cyber-security. Consumer trust will be vital to underpin these investments.
“Digital technology and data will continue to shape global economic growth and social change in coming years. Whether we fully realise the productivity dividend offered by these opportunities will depend on how effectively governments, businesses and individuals can recognise and safely harness these changes for Australia’s benefit.”
The Productivity Commission is now inviting comment on Australia’s data and digital dividend to inform its final report. Submissions close on 7 October 2022.
A full copy of 5-year Productivity Inquiry: Australia’s data and digital dividend is available at the Commission’s website.