OzTech: More jobs as Aussie tech companies expand; More STEM teachers for NSW; New research centres; Aussie top regulators join forces

OzTech Roundup is Computerworld Australia’s weekly look at the world of IT.

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$250M Jobs Plus Program has helped 11 organisations so far

Since being announced in November 2020, the New South Wales government’s Jobs Plus Program has helped 11 organisations with plans to expand and create jobs.

The $250 million program works through assistance packages that include offering payroll tax exemptions, training rebates, and infrastructure spending.

Six new recipients have been announced last week with a promise to support more than 1,900 jobs across the state. These include:

  • Baraja, which has reinvented light detection and ranging (lidar) for self-driving vehicles and will recruit highly skilled engineers to advance its Spectrum-Scan system, creating 120 direct jobs and 115 indirect jobs by June 2024.
  • Lexicon Digital Trust, which will expand its software engineering, delivery, and design consultancy business in Sydney, creating 30 direct jobs by June 2024.
  • Workit Spaces, an e-commerce coworking hub that will be supported to develop a 4,000-square-meter urban microfulfilment robotics pilot facility to deploy, commercialise, and showcase its Skutopia technology, an end-to-end eCommerce fulfilment solution. It expects to create 178 direct jobs and 305 indirect jobs by June 2024.

Australian businesses that currently employ 20 or more people, and international companies with at least 80 current Australian employees, that are looking to establish a minimum of 30 new jobs before June 2024 are eligible to apply for the Jobs Plus Program.

Minister for Enterprise, Investment, and Trade Stuart Ayres told Computerworld Australia that specifics of each assistance package are commercial in confidence.

NSW hires more STEM teachers

The first 100 science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) teachers recruited from Australia and overseas are currently undergoing approval processes to start teaching across New South Wales schools in 2022.

This is part of the $125 million NSW Teacher Supply Strategy announced in October 2021 to hire more STEM teachers for New South Wales public schools. The plan is to recruit 560 by 2024.

New research centres in Brisbane and Melbourne

Queensland University of Technology will open an on-campus innovation centre dedicated to research and development across retail, supply chain, consumer behaviour and engagement, data privacy, and cybersecurity.

This will be done in partnership with Cisco, which will fit the hub with its technology and also cofund a chair in Trusted Retail and Logistics Innovation to help brands and logistics providers improve customer experience.

Those interested can submit proposals for three- to six-month projects.

Separately, Monash University has launched the Human-Centric Software Engineering (Humanise) Lab, a research hub that will focus on incorporating unique aspects of peoples’ needs and abilities into software engineering practices.

Humanise has already led research projects to create software to:

  • Better support users with physical and mental disabilities.
  • Make advertisements for software engineering jobs more gender-inclusive.
  • Address privacy issues in mobile applications.
  • Create user-friendly options to observe and assess emotions of team members in agile work environments.

Humanise will collaborate with teams across the world and In Australia, as well as local and federal government agencies, community organisations, and industry collaborators from the health, finance, and software sectors.

The Digital Platform Regulators Forum is born

Four Australian independent regulators have joined forces to create the Digital Platform Regulators Forum (DP-Reg) to share information about, and collaborate on, issues and activities on the regulation of digital platforms.

Digital platforms include internet search engines, digital content aggregators, social media services, private messaging services, media referral services, and electronic marketplaces.

The members are the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC), and the Office of the eSafety Commissioner. The regulators will share information to help consideration of how competition, consumer protection, privacy, online safety, and data issues intersect.

The group will be led by a rotating chair who will be supported by a rotating secretariat.

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