The Federal government has announced that it will invest $1.2 billion toward Australia’s digital economy as part of its overall growth strategy for the country’s growth in the wake of the economic struggles it faced due to the global pandemic. The initiative has been welcomed by the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Bruce Billson, who expressed optimism that the investment will encourage greater digital adoption by small and family businesses, to ensure they are globally competitive.
“This significant investment will support small business growth and go some way to unlocking the commercial gains that can be made through digitisation,” Billson said. “Many small businesses have adopted better use of mobile and internet technologies as a result of the COVID crisis and these announced support measures will help that trend continue. Being digitally engaged has been very important for businesses, particularly in regional and rural areas, to continue delighting customers at a time of pandemic-related disruptions.
“In reality, digitisation is now vital to being truly competitive,” Billson added. “That means everything from having a website, to being eCommerce enabled, using apps to improve business efficiency and targeting customers through social media platforms. SMEs with advanced levels of digital engagement are 50 per cent more likely to grow revenue and earn 60 per cent more revenue per person, according to MYOB research.”
The Ombudsman also welcomed the Australian government’s commitment to help SMEs build their digital capacity and further promote the use of e-invoicing.
“With 1.2 billion invoices exchanged in Australia every year, making the switch to e-invoicing would add an estimated $28 billion to the Australian economy over 10 years,” Billson said. “For SMEs, we know e-invoicing streamlines productivity and improves cash flow with reduced admin and faster payments.”
As part of the digital growth strategy, the government also announced that it will provide a 30 per cent tax offset for the country’s video game industry. Billson welcomed this support for the Australian video game industry, which is comprised of many high growth potential small businesses and start-ups.
“My office has been a vocal supporter of the Interactive Games and Entertainment Association (IGEA) which estimates Australia could create a $1 billion industry in game development, providing export revenue and employing an additional 10,000 full time workers with the right support,” Billson said. “This 30 per cent tax offset is an excellent support measure to help Australian video game producers take a greater share of the $250 billion global game development market.
“Ultimately, this investment, which forms part of the Australian Government’s Digital Economy Strategy, will help make Australia the best place to start and grow a business,” Billson concluded.