The Australian government has unveiled significant investments in technology as part of the 2024 federal budget, totalling approximately $2.8 billion over the next four years. 

This sum surpasses last year's $2 billion allocation, as Australia attempts to advance its technological infrastructure and capabilities. 

Key areas of investment include artificial intelligence (AI), digital identity, cybersecurity, and data capability enhancement.

A substantial portion of the budget, nearly $40 million, is dedicated to promoting "safe and responsible" AI development. 

This investment aims to support the adoption of AI across various sectors while addressing potential risks associated with its use.

The government has allocated $21.6 million over four years to reshape the National AI Centre, which will transition from the CSIRO to the Department of Industry, Science, and Resources (DISR). This reshaped centre will also feature an advisory board within the department.

An additional $15.7 million over two years will be used to develop AI policies focusing on industry analytical capability, as well as reviewing and strengthening existing regulations in healthcare, consumer protection, and copyright law.

To address AI-related national security risks, the government will spend $2.6 million over three years. The Digital Transformation Agency aims to develop and implement policies that position the government as a model for AI use, with costs covered by existing resources.

The 2024-25 budget outlines numerous other IT projects across various government departments and agencies. Some of the most notable investments include:

Services Australia and myGov: Services Australia will receive $580.3 million over four years to maintain and develop the myGov platform, with an additional $139.6 million annually thereafter. This funding will ensure the platform's continued enhancement and respond to recommendations from the myGov user audit.

  • Landsat Next: $448.7 million over 11 years to establish a partnership with the United States on the next generation of the Landsat satellite earth observation program
  • Quantum Computing: $466.4 million in equity and loans to PsiQuantum to build a quantum computer in Queensland
  • Digital ID Adoption: $288.1 million over four years to boost the adoption of Digital ID
  • Cybersecurity and Data Capability: APRA and ASIC will receive $206.4 million over four years to improve their data capabilities and cybersecurity measures, and to continue modernising business registers and legacy systems
  • 2026 Census: $196.8 million over three years to support the delivery of the 2026 Census, ensuring safe data collection and storage, increasing public engagement, and facilitating access through myGov
  • DFAT Upgrades: $187.8 million over four years to upgrade ICT and security at DFAT premises
  • Aged Care ICT Infrastructure: $174.5 million over two years for ICT infrastructure in aged care to implement the new Support at Home Program and Single Assessment System from July 2025

The Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet will receive $2.2 million in 2024-25 to enhance capabilities across the Australian Public Service, including AI integration and improving data quality for policy analysis.

Despite significant allocations, some details remain undisclosed. For instance, the budget papers do not specify the investment amount for the whole-of-government Copilot trial. Efforts to reveal this amount in Senate committees have been unsuccessful.