5 things you need to know in Australian tech today

Photo: Sybren A. Stuvel/Flickr

It’s a bumper federal budget edition of 5 things this morning:

1. Australian startup industry is stunned that the government has abandoned its “innovation agenda” after just one year. Last night’s budget speech saw Scott Morrison stay completely silent on startups and their place in the economy and, to add salt to the wounds, the budget added a set of new levies on the hiring of foreign workers. The tech startup industry reacted with outrage to its snubbing and to the government financially punishing it for Australia’s skills shortage.

2. Meanwhile, FinTech Australia was delighted with the budget. The industry body, as well as fintech execs, praised the plans to force banks to open up their data, extend the regulatory sandbox, and reducing the requirements for businesses to call themselves banks. The fintech community also welcomed the removal of GST on cryptocurrency purchases, which will further fuel the trade boom in currency such as Bitcoins.

3. The budget also saw a proposal to allow private companies to use crowdsourcing to raise capital. The first law in March only saw unlisted public companies eligible to raise funds in such a way, and was criticised for missing most startups, which are proprietary companies. Now the new draft legislation, to go through the sausage factory of parliament, has been welcomed by the tech startup community.

4. Lest we forget the census. The government didn’t, allocating $10.7 million in last night’s budget to set up a new Cyber Security Advisory Office, which will oversee all things tech security across the public sector. Read more here.

5. If you’re sick of the budget, take note that Facebook will become the world’s largest media company. That’s according to an exec who worked for the social media giant in its early days – before it was open to the general public and was only for US university students. Read more on Chris Adams’ thoughts and his new venture in Australia, Thred.

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