Australia’s Prime Minister Ordered Blockchain Research Push, Gov’t Agency Says

Australia’s $530,000 blockchain research push this year came as a result of a specific request by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, reports reveal Tuesday, May 22.

According to local news outlet ITNews, which quotes government officials, Turnbull had explicitly asked the country’s Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) – a body tasked with bringing government services into the digital age – to study blockchain.

“The Prime Minister in fact wrote to our minister [assistant minister for digital transformation Michael Keenan] and asked us to have a look at blockchain, which evolved into this particular piece of work,” DTA chief digital officer Peter Alexander said.

Alexander was referencing the agency’s $700,000 AUD ($530,000) budget award for the year 2018-19, specifically dedicated to the technology.

“The Government will provide $0.7 million in 2018-19 for the Digital Transformation Agency to investigate areas where blockchain technology could offer the most value for Government services,” the budget document states.

The DTA similarly confirmed the buzz around blockchain on Tuesday.

As Cointelegraph reported earlier this month, the move constitutes one of several focusing on how the government can best leverage blockchain’s advantages, including looking at trade supply chains.

“ASIC (the Australian Securities and Investments Commission) [was] looking at blockchain, Immigration – now Home Affairs – was looking at blockchain and considering it, and more agencies were talking about it,” Alexander said, adding:

“Lots of vendors were [also] coming to government and talking about blockchain.”