The report is in response to Australia’s first recession in 30 years as a result of COVID-19, which was confirmed in the June quarter’s negative growth announced on September 2.
The document makes numerous recommendations about how the nation can “embrace technology and become globally competitive” said committee head Senator Andrew Bragg. He added:
It is my hope this interim report can be seen as a series of quick wins: new jobs and more choices.
There are dozens of references to blockchain and distributed ledger technology and the report cites submissions to the committee that blockchain's potential is “estimated at $175 billion annually within five years and $3 trillion by 2030”. It quoted Piper Alderman partner Michael Bacina as saying blockchain’s use cases would grow exponentially across the financial and regulatory sectors:
Most fintech and regtech projects will either be built predominantly on distributed ledger technology or blockchain or heavily using that within the next 10 years.
The tax treatment of Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) was addressed specifically with the recommendation that the regulatory framework around ICOs be developed to encourage blockchain development rather than inhibit it.
Power Ledger’s co-founder and Executive Chairman Dr Jemma Green highlighted that more than $26 billion had been raised through ICOs, however Australia has captured less than one percent of this value. She explained that by implementing new tax regulations the country could capitalise on the opportunity, “to capture a bigger piece of that $26 billion pie” which would result in employment for “employ tens of thousands of people”.
Other use-cases for the technology cited include blockchain as a reporting and management tool for property data and investments, and within the credentialing sector.
The technology will also play an integral part in Australia's farming success through agricultural advancements, a sector set to grow to $100 billion by 2030 according to the National Farmers Federation. Senator Bragg said “innovative technology is the only future for the farming sector”.
The Committee will submit the final report in April 2021.