Australia and the United States have formally agreed to collaborate on quantum technology, committing themselves to sharing knowledge, protecting sensitive technologies, and empowering industry.
The two nations signed a declaration of intent on Friday, recognising that “critical emerging technology” presents significant opportunities for economic prosperity and security.
This is due to the recognition of quantum tech as a “critical technology” this week by the federal government, which has committed to developing and protecting it as one of nine priority technologies identified to increase state support and national security control.
Areas of cooperation will be achieved by elevating the quantum in bilateral agreements and by convening regular meetings of senior government officials in a “Quantum Policy Dialogue”, the details of which have yet to be determined.
Minister of Science and Technology and Defence Industry Melissa Price issued a statement on Friday hailing the cooperation. Ms. Price has held the Defence Industry portfolio for several years and was turned over to Science and Technology in a division of the Industry portfolio in August.
“Quantum technologies will help us overcome significant challenges that current computers struggle to solve, will help make our day-to-day lives safer and more convenient, and create more secure communications technologies,” she said.
Under the agreement, Australia and the United States will explore new theoretical applications of quantum technology and work to translate research into meaningful practical applications of mutual benefit.
National security is also at the heart of the deal, with the two nations pledging to “protect sensitive technologies for which there are national security implications.”
Australia and the US will similarly build a “trusted global quantum marketplace and necessary secure supply chain through the engagement of the private sector and industrial consortia.”
In the United States, the Biden administration has committed $180 billion to “the R&D industries of the future,” including quantum computing.
President Biden’s Science Advisor and Director of the Science and Technology Policy Office of the White House, Dr. Eric Lander, signed the Australian-US joint declaration in Washington on Wednesday.
“I am delighted to affirm the United States and Australia’s commitment to work together to develop a healthy international marketplace for quantum technologies and grow the workforce for this emerging area,” he said.
He further commented the statement would see the two nations continue to develop a “healthy international marketplace for quantum technologies and grow the workforce”.
Melissa Price said the agreement builds on Australia’s already strong strategic science and technology partnership with the US.
“As a critical technology that will shape our world for years to come, quantum technology offers incredible opportunities for Australia and the US,” she said.
Expanding this collaboration through quantum science research, technology and innovation promises to deepen our bonds of friendship and understanding, strengthen our economy, and contribute to global knowledge of science and technology.