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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 06 Hansard (Wednesday, 2 June 2021) . . Page.. 1660 ..


when many other industries suffered from the economic impacts of COVID-19, digital technology jobs grew, particularly in Sequel, Java, and DevOps.

Particularly exciting is the growth in jobs in artificial intelligence and cyber security. By 2030 it is estimated that Australia will need an AI specialist workforce of between 32,000 and 161,000 workers. But it is also of note that more than half of the top 10 skills in demand for technology workers are actually non-technical. These include communication, team work and problem solving. There will be people who have these non-technical skills already but who have lost jobs in industries heavily impacted by COVID-19 restrictions and who could retrain for a job in one of Australia’s fastest growing industries. This is a great opportunity for Canberra, if we can support those training places through our excellent local universities and CIT.

I note that the ACT government’s technology upgrade fund for the community sector, which provided grant funding of $487,000 in 2021, supports community sector organisations not only to pay for software and hardware but also to pay for training and support. This will enable community sector organisations and the community members they support to improve their digital technology, knowledge and skills.

I also note the proportion of women employed in technology in Australia is now 29 per cent compared to 47.5 per cent for similar occupations in the professional, scientific and technical services industry. At the current rate of growth it will take 66 years for the number of women in technology to reach parity with women in the professional, scientific and technical services industry, and that is still less than 50 per cent. The attrition rate for women leaving the industry is twice that of men.

I was pleased the see the high levels of enthusiasm from the many industry leaders in the room at the launch of the Digital Pulse report to make greater progress on this. This is why the ACT Greens went to the 2020 election with a policy to support greater diversity in the technology industry, such as allowing ACT government public servants to work from home and access a four-day week wherever possible; gender weighting in criteria for government contracts with technical roles; boosting the number of women enrolling in and graduating from CIT technology courses; scholarships and work experience opportunities for years 9 and 10 girls in STEM subjects; and more ACT government trainee and graduate jobs for technology roles.

I greatly appreciate the work of ACS and Deloitte Access Economics in producing the annual Digital Pulse report, and I look forward to opportunities to support future growth in Canberra’s digital technology industry and continued development as a leader in technology innovation.

National Reconciliation Week

MRS KIKKERT (Ginninderra) (5.47): As we approach the end of National Reconciliation Week, I rise today to share a few thoughts about reconciliation. I recently had the privilege of sitting down for nearly an hour to listen to a senior Aboriginal leader. I asked him to explain to me what reconciliation means to him personally. His first response: telling the truth. Nothing can get better until we know the facts, he asserted. Whilst it is essential to know what happened in the past, a


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