Digital Transformation Minister Angus Taylor pitches Canberra’s tech capital potential in Singapore

The Turnbull government’s assistant minister in charge of the digital transformation of government will be selling Canberra’s status as an emerging tech capital during a visit to Singapore this week.

Assistant Minister Angus Taylor will visit the Asian city-state powerhouse on Monday, accompanied by Canberra IT private sector bosses and executives from telco giant Optus for a series of meetings on how IT infrastructure can be rolled out better and more widely adopted in Australia.

Mr Taylor is pursuing strategies to push greater uptake of cloud computing technology, as part of efforts to save hundreds of millions of dollars while providing government with robust and secure data services.

Among Canberra firms represented in the delegation are Veritec and Canberra Data Centres.

Meetings with telco Singtel will include presentations on 5G communications technology, initiatives to help Singapore increase the pace of digitalisation in government and the private sector and developing capabilities related to the Internet of Things.

Singtel executives will demonstrate the company’s cyber security capabilities, including in its advanced security operations centre, which monitors internet and cyber threats.

Delegation members will also tour Singtel’s cyber security institute, established to educate and train company boards, corporate management and cyber security professionals in how better to deal with and mitigating risks.

The company has worked with government agencies to provide cloud computing platforms which enable scaling up of IT infrastructure securely and cost effectively.

Singtel subsidiary NCS will show off tools related to smart cities efforts, including analytics capabilities, digital technologies and emerging platforms.

Singtel is owned by the Singapore government, and Optus is a subsidiary of the company.

“Canberra can really play a role as a hub for IT services to government in Australia,” Mr Taylor said.

“I think many of these companies based in the ACT have in time, and we’re starting to see this now, the potential to play global roles. This is a real opportunity for Canberra and this region.

“With government being a leading customer for smaller companies based locally, we can help to develop leading companies globally and that is something that as the Assistant Minister for Digital Transformation I see enormous potential in. We want to build a sector here, which is a world beater and which can lead the world in so many areas.”

Canberra Data Centres chief executive Greg Boorer, said similarities between the two cities meant Canberra could take advantage of lessons learned in Asia.

“Singapore and Canberra share much in common. Both are city-states with a high density of government, defence, technology, academia and the ICT industry all co-located in a relatively small city footprint which presents unique opportunities.

“Singapore is a recognised leader in smart cities and the use of technology across all sectors.

“The Singapore government is well known for their whole-of-government approach to ICT strategy and I look forward to learning more about the Singapore journey and applying those learnings locally to continue to support government in new and improved ways into the future,” he said.

Veritec chief executive Keiran Mott said he hoped to learn from Singapore’s use of smart cities technology to make life easier for citizens.

“Exposure to the senior leaders of the government, Optus and Singtel is extremely worthwhile to Veritec in understanding how we can make a real difference in helping government with digital transformation,” he said.

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