Labor pledges funding for ‘blockchain academy’

$3 million funding for Perth-based academy

If it wins the federal election Labor has pledged to deliver $3 million in funding to help launch the nation’s first ‘Blockchain Academy’.

The academy would be based in Perth, but if successful could potentially be replicated in other cities, Labor said. The initiative would help address an Australian shortfall in blockchain-related skills, the party said, citing a report produced by ICT professionals association ACS.

The ACS report — Blockchain 2030 — was produced in partnership with the CSIRO’s Data61 and argued that a study of the “blockchain workforce” revealed a “clear skill gap, with demand for blockchain-related skills rapidly increasing, despite the limited supply of skilled talent from information and communication technology domains.”

The report cited one analysis that claimed there could be as many as 14 job openings for every blockchain developer

“Labor wants to drive skills and training through the Blockchain Academy, teaming up with education and training providers from the vocational and tertiary sectors,” a Labor statement said.

“The Academy will explore industry specific applications of Blockchain, connecting corporations with start-ups, academia and students to help spot opportunities for using the technology in specific business use cases,” the statement added.

“It will also potentially host computer science researchers, economists and corporates and will also act as a venue for education programs and a showcase for projects.”

Australia is home to one of the most-prominent examples of efforts to build a blockchain-inspired enterprise-grade system: The ASX’s replacement for its aging CHESS system. The new ASX system will be based on “distributed ledger technology” and is expected to enter production in March-April 2021.

Australia’s banks have also staged a number of blockchain initiatives — however, so far they have largely been experiments and prototypes.

The technology was the subject of a recent study by the government’s Digital Transformation Agency. In its guidance for government agencies, the DTA said that it had concluded “blockchain is still an emerging technology and, when applied to various pilots or considered against alternative technologies, gaps become evident across both the technical and business facets of its implementation.”

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Tags BlockchainElection 2019

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