The Australian opposition Labor Party has announced plans to establish a national blockchain academy to be based in Perth in Western Australia, should it be elected at the next general election.
The AUD 3 million (USD 1.5 million) investment was announced by Ed Husic, Labor’s shadow minister for assisting small business, this week and is seen as a sign that new technology is high on the opposition’s list of priorities should it gain power on Saturday 18 May 2019 in the country’s federal general election.
Although Australia has a forward-thinking approach to cryptocurrency in general, the government is still slow coming forward to promote the industry. Currently, under a Liberal Government the Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) whose aim is to deliver world-leading digital services for the benefit of all Australians, feels that the technology needs more research before it can be described as the real deal.
Labor clearly wants to move this research further down the road, and open up access to the workforce for potential young West Australian tech hopefuls. It has been a big week for Labor in the lead up to the election as it tries to win over tech-savvy voters. Last week Husic announced a new USD 4 million national center of artificial intelligence excellence would be established in Melbourne in order to cater for this need for new skills in emerging new technologies such as blockchain. South Australia is also vying for attention after federal funding approval for its own new crypto lab recently.
“Blockchain is becoming highly valued in the financial services sector, with the Australian Stock Exchange through to major banks like the Commonwealth actively preparing for its use in their operations,” Husic said.
To many, essentially mining based Western Australia may seem an unusual choice for the academy, but the shadow minister sees other benefits due to its geographical location, commenting:
“Importantly, too, it can help Perth link up with other global cities like Singapore that are embracing blockchain technology and whose firms are keen to tap into the skills of their neighbors.”
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