Australia Opposition Party Promises $2.1 Mln Blockchain Academy Pending May Election Win

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Australia’s main opposition party would inject $3 million AUD ($2.1 million) into blockchain technology should it win next month’s federal election, tech news magazine ZDNet reported on May 1.

Under plans previously outlined as part of its election pledges, the Australian Labor Party said it would divert the funds to set up a dedicated Blockchain Academy in the western city of Perth.

“The Liberal government has failed to tackle major tech skills shortages that are holding back Australian businesses,” the publication quotes Shadow Minister for the Digital Economy, Ed Husic, as saying. He adds:

“Labor wants to address this, investing in Australians to develop job skills that are in high demand now and into the future.”

The current mood on blockchain among Australia’s government is mixed. While last month saw the announcement of a $100,000 AUD ($70,500) funding boost for the emerging sector, not everyone appears convinced of its worth as an investment goal.

“For every use of blockchain you would consider today, there is a better technology — alternate databases, secure connections, standardised API engagement,” Peter Alexander, head of the government-run Digital Transformation Agency (DTA), said in October last year.

Should Labor secure power, the DTA would fall under its jurisdiction, ZDNet notes.

As Cointelegraph reported, Australian authorities likewise continue to take a strict stance on cryptocurrency itself, announcing a policy of data collection from domestic exchanges to go after individual traders with outstanding tax obligations.

“We want to help taxpayers to get it right and ensure they are paying the correct amount of tax,” Will Day, deputy commissioner at the Australian Tax Office, commented this week.