FY22/23 Federal Budget – Cyber Security, Inflation and Projects
31st March 2022

The rumour mill had been spinning with sneak peaks being dropped daily in the lead up. Businesses big and small would each be affected by the outcome and many industry leaders came forward with their take on what was announced. We wanted to touch on exactly what the budget means for us working in tech.  

The cyber security boost

Josh Frydenberg penned $9.9 billion investment in the next decade for new national cyber and intelligence capabilities. The project – Resilience, Effects, Defence, Space, Intelligence, Cyber and Enablers (REDSPICE) – is the largest investment in the cyber capabilities of the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD).

“REDSPICE will substantially increase ASD’s offensive cyber capabilities, its ability to detect and respond to cyber-attacks and introduce new intelligence capabilities,” Minister for Defence Peter Dutton said.

The good and bad news if you are working in tech. This investment will create more than 1,900 new jobs across data analysts, computer programmers, and software engineers, almost doubling ASD’s current size. However, given the rigorous security clearances that candidates need to go through in order to secure these roles in the first place, it may take years to place them as well as the Government needing to poach from its own backyard.  

Rising wages and inflation

The Government is predicting the unemployment rate will drop to 3.75 per cent by the September quarter this year, which would mean an additional 1.2 million Australians in jobs, and around $770,000 of welfare payments. If that happens, it will be the first time in half a century.

Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese slammed the plan, saying the data shows the jobs Australians are taking are not sustainable. “The reality out there is that there are almost 2 million Australians who want more work,” Albanese said in Canberra yesterday morning. “What we see is growth in the gig economy, a growth of casualisation, the growth of contracting out and labour-hire companies. What we don’t see is a growth in secure work, a growth in the sort of jobs where people can get a mortgage, where people can plan to have a family. That’s the problem with the pressures that are on the Budget.”

Avec’s Managing Director, Dennis Grant commented on the stress that this is putting projects under. “Both private and public sector are seeing increased investment/activity across their Project Portfolios, however capacity constraints continue to drive delays/delivery challenges. Introducing a higher volume of people to the tech industry will be a much-needed boost for the industry, however the true reflection of success may be reliant on how we make allowances for skill gaps and building programs that address these gaps and integrate this new found capacity into new/existing delivery structures without compromising on quality.” 

It’s time to welcome people back into Australia

We have all seen the effects of borders closing over the last few years. The candidate shortage is problematic for most businesses, especially in tech. Last night the Government has relaxed certain work restrictions for a variety of visas including eligible Working Holiday Maker (WHM) visa holders.

The government has also announced an incentive for these visa holders to bring forward their arrival into Australia by refunding the Visa Application Charge. The Government will also increase country caps for Work and Holiday visas by 30% in 2022/23, increasing overall places available by around 11,000.

This is a good push in the right direction for increasing skilled candidates through our doors for both private and public sector.

Final thoughts

Martin Lategui, Avec’s Business Engagement Manager observed the announcements. “The budget announcement had some solid wins for the tech industry, across the public and private sector. Through the added $9.9bn investment in new national cyber security capabilities, it has continued to build on last year’s budget which outlined the Digital Economy Strategy, with an increased focus on enhancing Australia’s tech ecosystem by 2030. In order to deliver these initiatives, there will be an increased need for skilled and experienced IT professionals, resulting in increased pressure on technology project managers to deliver these programs of work throughout the coming years.”

There were some great wins for the tech industry in last night’s budget. With growing pressure on the tech industry to get various projects over the line, it will be very interesting to see how this budget will perform given current market conditions.

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