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The National Quantum Strategy sets out the key themes and actions to be delivered on Australia’s quantum industry over the next 7 years 

On 3 May 2023, the Australian Department of Industry, Science and Resources released Australia’s long-awaited National Quantum Strategy (‘Strategy’). The Strategy comes following a period of consultation late last year on the proposed framework for the National Quantum Strategy (see our previous update for more detail on the consultation and a handy summary of quantum technologies).

The Strategy is based on an ambitious vision for Australia in 2030 to be recognised as a leader of the global quantum industry and for quantum technologies to be integral to a prosperous, fair and inclusive Australia. The Strategy centres around 5 themes, each with their own set of high-level actions which are aimed at addressing the opportunities and challenges facing Australia’s quantum industry.

Key themes of the Strategy

Below we have summarised each of the key themes of the Strategy, along with the Australian Government’s actions and underlying rationale behind them.

Theme 1: Thriving research and development, investment in and use of quantum technologies

The Strategy recognises that the quantum sector faces challenges with attracting early-stage long-term capital, as well as connecting businesses and investors to maturing quantum research and technologies.

The key actions proposed to support this theme are:

  • designing new programs to incentivise the continued growth of quantum use cases in sensing, communications and computing;
  • seek out and support initiatives involving consortiums of universities, quantum companies and industry to commercialise quantum research; and
  • grow a pipeline of quantum companies and technologies for potential future investment through the Australian Government’s $15 billion National Reconstruction Fund. A minimum of $1 billion is currently reserved in the National Reconstruction Fund for investments in critical technologies, although it is not clear from the Strategy how much of that will be allocated to quantum technology projects.

Theme 2: Securing access to essential quantum infrastructure and materials

The Strategy recognises that Australia’s quantum industry relies on global supply chains that are vulnerable to disruption.

The key actions to support this theme are:

  • conduct a national audit of quantum-related infrastructure enabling quantum research, identifying capability gaps and areas for dedicated investment; and
  • active monitoring and addressing of supply chain challenges and opportunities affecting Australia’s quantum industry. However, the Strategy does not make any commitments with respect to the onshoring of manufacturing capability.

Theme 3: A skilled and growing quantum workforce

The Strategy recognises a need for quantum literate businesses and workers that can identify and use new quantum applications across various sectors.

The key actions to support this theme are:

  • delivering quantum technology PhD scholarships and a previously announced $4.6 million grant to CSIRO and the Sydney Quantum Academy under the National Quantum Collaboration Initiative;
  • reviewing and reporting on Australia’s quantum workforce to identify workforce and educational needs for the quantum sector and adjacent industries;
  • integrating quantum science into STEM education at all levels, in collaboration with federal, state and territory education bodies; and
  • exploring measures to attract global quantum talent, including through targeted incentives and skilled and talent attraction programs.

Theme 4: Standards and frameworks that support national interests

The Strategy recognises that while quantum technologies could give Australia enormous economic and sovereign capability advantages, uses of quantum technologies need to be responsible and appropriately controlled to protect research, capabilities and investments. However, navigating the regulatory environment was identified in the Strategy as a key challenge for technology industries, and so there is a need to ensure regulatory frameworks are fit for purpose and responsive to technological developments.

The key actions to support this theme are:

  • working across government to ensure regulatory measures are fit for purpose to maximise opportunities, manage risks and protect Australia’s national interests; and
  • exploring opportunities to grow Australia’s regional leadership and strengthen collaboration and opportunity for industry with collaborative programs of research, science diplomacy and provisioning access to infrastructure.

Theme 5: A trusted, ethical and inclusive quantum ecosystem

The Strategy recognises that building principles of responsible development and use of quantum technologies will be critical to aligning them with Australian values and expectations around the protection of human rights.

The key actions to support this theme are:

  • working with industry, academia, states and territories to develop principles to support the responsible and inclusive development and use of quantum technologies. The Strategy notes the importance of diversity to ensure that the whole of Australia can understand and benefit from quantum technologies; and
  • ensuring that Australia is represented in international quantum standard-setting bodies.

Measuring success and next steps

The Strategy proposes that, starting in 2023, the Australian government will run periodic benchmarking reviews of the quantum sector to measure progress against the Strategy. It sets out various qualitative and quantitative measures of success, which will include:

  • the strength of Australia’s quantum industry and its support of national interests;
  • Australia’s leadership in quantum research and pathways to commercialisation;
  • quantum literacy among business;
  • access by Australian quantum researchers to infrastructure to advance their field; and
  • talent pipelines in the quantum industry.

By articulating the key actions to be taken under the Strategy, Australia continues to pursue its ambition to be a leader in the global quantum industry. All that remains is action and implementation to achieve this vision, and the next 7 years leading to 2030 will be pivotal.

Key contacts

Susannah Wilkinson photo

Susannah Wilkinson

Regional Head, Emerging Technology (APAC), Brisbane

Susannah Wilkinson
Julian Lincoln photo

Julian Lincoln

Partner, Head of TMT & Digital Australia, Melbourne

Julian Lincoln
Nayan Bhathela photo

Nayan Bhathela

Solicitor, Sydney

Nayan Bhathela

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