Many of the biggest names in the Australian tech sector have joined forces to establish the council
Founded in 2020, the council’s board includes Atlassian co-founder Scott Farquhar, Afterpay co-founder Anthony Eisen and Canva co-founder Cliff Obrecht. The board is overseen Robyn Denholm, with several other technology leaders involved in the group.
The council, formed by 23 major players in the technology industry aims to increase the value of Australia’s tech sector to $250 billion over the next decade. In addition, the group aims to employ 1 million people in the industry by 2025.
Representing a cross-section of Australia’s technology ecosystem, the Tech Council of Australia brings together the country’s most successful and innovative technology companies with a mission to shape Australia’s digital future.
The Technology Council works with governments and the community to advise, educate and lay the foundations for a successful, true digital economy.
Some of the biggest players in big tech like Google and Microsoft are involved in the advice, but Facebook – which has had its fair share of problems in Australia – is noticeably absent. However, Cliff Obrecht said it was because the company did not have a massive presence in Australia.
“The newly formed Tech Council of Australia has estimated that technology is our third biggest sector after mining and financial services,” said PM Scott Morrison.
The Tech Council plans to focus is on improving the availability of skilled migrant visas to give Australian businesses access to some of the world’s best talent.
Research by specialist recruiter Robert Half shows that more than half (52%) of business leaders believe finding skilled talent is more difficult compared to pre-pandemic conditions.
Tech Council members are committed to working with governments at all levels to ensure that Australia and Australians can take advantage of the vast opportunities that technology brings.
List of board members
- Scott Farquhar, Co-CEO, Atlassian (Director)
- Anthony Eisen, Co-founder and Co-CEO, Afterpay (Director)
- Cliff Obrecht, Co-founder and COO, Canva (Director)
- Mina Radhakrishnan, CEO, :Different (Director)
- Didier Elzinga, CEO, Culture Amp (Director)
- Wyatt Roy, Former Federal Minister (Executive Director)
- Kate Jones, Former Queensland Minister (Executive Director)
- Alex McCauley, former CEO, StartupAus (Executive Director)
- Kate Pounder, CEO, Tech Council of Australia
Its simple objective is to provide a coordinated and clear voice to government on policy issues impacting the sector.
It will also build a more accurate public narrative for the tech industry that highlights the current size of the sector, the scale of the short-term growth opportunity, its positive role as a job creator, as well as its role as a productivity engine for the rest of the worlds economy.
Coinciding with its launch, the Tech Council released new research from Accenture that claims the tech industry generated $167 billion in economic output in fiscal year 2021, or 8.5 percent of GDP.
Robyn Denholm says “with the right investment and partnership, the tech jobs opportunity can get much bigger. Since 2005, tech jobs have grown by 66 per cent, compared to an average jobs growth rate of 27 per cent across the economy.”
“During the pandemic, the tech sector generated 65,000 jobs, one of the economy’s highest job creators,” she said.
The technology sector had previously been critical in underpinning Australia’s response to COVID-19, as the widespread adoption of cloud software and other technologies has enabled businesses and workers to avoid a blackout and enable critical services in key sectors.
“As we rebuild our economy in the years ahead, technology has the potential to expand and create great jobs for our kids and grandkids. Near term, by 2030, the technology sector has the potential to contribute more to GDP than either primary industries or manufacturing,” Ms. Denholm said.
Providing a trusted voice for Australia’s technology industry, the Tech Council comprises the full spectrum of tech companies. The council aims to advise and engage with Australian governments, businesses and the wider community to help support the ongoing creation, development, and adoption of technology across industries.