Special Report: The Morrison Government’s election win seals a $156 million cybersecurity spend, and archTIS boss Daniel Lai says education and investment are the keys to a burgeoning tech sector.

A few weeks out from the federal election the Morrison government pledged $156 million to scale up the cybersecurity teams defending Australia’s communications networks.

One company buoyed by that promise is cybersecurity ‘trust’ company archTIS (ASX:AR9), which provides highly secure communication networks for government, public and private sectors.

It recently launched Kojensi Gov, a secure content and collaboration platform for government and their industry partners. The information sharing model used in Kojensi Gov was first developed for sharing information at the highest levels of government.

And Daniel Lai, the company’s CEO, recently told Stockhead the key to securing the future for tech companies is increased investment, especially into education, training and access.

Take the mining mindset as exemplar

Lai says the prevailing investment mindset amongst Australian investors is a mining mindset, rather than a tech mindset.

“If you want to nurture new industries, there has to be incentives in place for investors to invest in those industries and one of the problems we have is in the R&D investment area,” he says.

“Ill-conceived expectations around promising unicorns like Atlassian, Google and so forth mean our tech investors in Australia are impatient.

“When they invest in mines, they understand that it has to be a staged approach, that growth is gradual and you have to go through a whole series of phases before you see returns.

“In technology, we need to develop and mature our investors and build a tech investment industry.”

Education before scale

Lai says the renewed Morrison government would do well to focus to ensure innovation does not outstrip the nurturing of the booming tech industry.

“Australia’s IT sector is under-skilled and under-resourced and that’s why I think it’s so important that the Coalition now sets its focus on education – developing these skills at a primary, high school and tertiary level,” he says.

“If we are serious about building a competitive industry moving forward over the next 10 or 20 years, then this approach is critical for our government and the innovation it can create in these sectors.”

And, Lai argues, it is time that we grew proud of home-grown tech companies like archTIS, rather than looking to our bigger sisters overseas.

“We want to incentivise Australians to invest in technology as an industry; we want government to nurture and invest in the Australian IT Sector not compete against it by buying US multinational products,” he says.


This story was developed in collaboration with archTIS, a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publishing.
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