Australia’s Labor party has announced it will commit $3 million to support the country’s first Blockchain Academy if it is elected into power in May.
Labor said it would establish the Academy in Perth, Western Australia (WA), as it was ideally positioned for developing collaborations and relationships with regional neighbours located in the same time zone.
Shadow minister for the digital economy Ed Husic said as a regular visitor to Perth he was aware of the tech talent and emerging fintech community that already existed in the city.
“It’s been estimated that for every single blockchain developer, there’s about 14 job opportunities according to a recent report done by the Australian Computer Society and Data61,” Husic said.
“We’re announcing today our commitment to set aside $3 million in the establishment of a blockchain academy in Perth to make sure that we train people with the skills that are highly sought after in blockchain.”
Plans for the Academy include exploring industry specific applications of blockchain, connecting corporations with start-ups, as well as supporting academia and students to help spot opportunities for the technology in specific use cases.
Blockchain consultancy DigitalX CEO Leigh Travers, who is Perth-based, said WA was leading the charge in blockchain technology.
“We’ve had some successful companies that have launched from here, and we’ve got universities such as the University of Western Australia already offering blockchain courses. What that means is you’ve got a fast rate of adoption among academics and corporates,” Travers said.
“Blockchain is moving quickly from proof of concept into active development. It’s being applied in a number of verticals; we’re seeing it happen in the mining sector, the legal sector and of course finance.”
Labor member for WA Matt Keogh said the announcement acknowledged Perth as a growing hub for new technology.
“By having a blockchain academy, we’re trying to bridge that skills gap at a time when WA is facing some high employment levels as well, so having that extra capacity for skills and training is really important,” Keogh said.
Once proven successful in Perth, Labor said it would consider expanding the academy’s offering to other key cities.