The inaugural National Technology Summit officially kicks off in Brisbane

Hon. Annastacia Palaszczuk, Premier of Queensland
Hon. Annastacia Palaszczuk, Premier of Queensland

Day one of the inaugural National Tech Summit – Forging Australia’s Tech Future has been opened by Annastacia Palaszczuk, Premier of Queensland and Minister for the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Tech Council of Australia (TCA) and the Queensland Govt partnered to bring top speakers to Brisbane to discuss the most critical issues for Australia’s tech future.

What does the event mean for the tech sector?

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk’s keynote address welcomed over 350 leaders, emerging leaders, and enthusiasts from the Australian tech ecosystem to QLD and reassured the govt’s commitment to supporting its trajectory of becoming one of the country’s thriving tech hubs.

“Today, I had the honour of welcoming over 350 established and emerging technology leaders to our wonderful state of Queensland. Our government is committed to driving a strong innovation agenda and supporting the technology sector. We want to support future entrepreneurs to thrive and establish themselves in our state,” Premier Palaszczuk said.

Commenting on the event, TCA Chief Executive Officer, Kate Pounder said she is honoured to bring the first-of-its-kind Summit to Queensland, which is emerging as Australia’s next tech hub. “We are immensely proud to bring our inaugural tech summit to the sunshine state and thank the Queensland Government and Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk for their support.”

“The event brings together established and emerging tech leaders from our tech ecosystem to discuss opportunities and the challenges impacting the industry and everyday Aussies.”

Innovation Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said the TCA’s inaugural tech summit had attracted the industry’s brightest minds. “Technology, innovation and entrepreneurship are central to the Palaszczuk Government’s commitment to creating Queensland’s jobs of the future,” he said.

Hon. Stirling Hinchliffe, Queensland Innovation Minister
Hon. Stirling Hinchliffe, Queensland Innovation Minister

“With the eyes of the world turning to Queensland ahead of the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games, it’s our time to shine. Queensland has the ideas, infrastructure and industry capability to create good jobs and emerge as a leader in the global tech sector.”

Chair of the TCA and Tesla, Robyn Denholm delivered the opening keynote, sharing her visionary outlook on Australia’s tech opportunity in the upcoming decade. “Australia has the potential to assume a global leadership role in innovation across all facets of the industry.”

“This Summit is timely in providing a brilliant opportunity for established and emerging tech leaders to come together and discuss how to seize the opportunity, inspire the next generation of start-ups, and navigate the challenges for the foreseeable future.” she added.

What were the highlights of the summit?

Surfing the Wave

Ms Denholm also participated in the panel session: Surfing the Wave alongside Scott Farquhar, Co-Chief Executive Officer and Co-founder of Atlassian, Ed Chung, Chief Executive Officer, TechnologyOne, Christine McLoughlin AM, Chairman, Suncorp and the Hon Paul Fletcher MP, Shadow Minister for Government Services and the Digital Economy.

The panel delved into a high-powered session where they shared their personal experiences of navigating through the fluctuating cycles of tech sector investment and innovation. They provided their expert insights into the current environment, reflecting on their journeys of building and leading companies, and illustrated how downturns can be an opportune time to cultivate the next generation of entrepreneurs and foster the development of new industries.

Ms Pounder said another highlight session of the day was the launch of the TCA’s new research: Transforming Australia into the world’s best country for start-ups and scale-ups.

Kate Pounder, CEO of the Tech Council of Australia
Kate Pounder, Chief Executive Officer at the Tech Council of Australia

“I was delighted to unveil our latest research which could not be more fitting for the theme of this Summit. This report sets a bold ambition for Australia to become the pre-eminent global destination for launching, expanding, and investing in tech companies,” Ms Pounder said.

“It is a comprehensive research study that explores the prevailing trends within Australia’s start-up and scale-up ecosystem and emphasises the indispensable tax, investment, skills, and regulatory frameworks required at the state and federal levels. It highlights the ingredients necessary to nurture the next wave of globally successful tech firms,” she added.

How Australia can compete globally

A follow-up panel session: How can Australia spur investment and build globally competitive firms moderated by Ms Pounder, expanded on the report, offering an in-depth exploration of how economic conditions influence investment trends within Australia’s tech industries.

Panel members included influential tech leaders, including Mel Silva, Chief Executive Officer Google Australia, Meghan Quinn PSM, Secretary, Department of Industry, Science and Resources, Dan Krasnostein, Partner, SquarePeg, Richard Holden, Professor of Economics, UNSW Business School, Eglantine Etiemble, Group Chief Technology Officer, PEXA.

The panel examined the impact of high inflation, rising interest rates, and investment models like the National Reconstruction Fund, uncovering keys to fostering growth for tech firms.

Heated debate on tech security

The debate of the day at the National Tech Summit, ‘Can tech ever be secure by design and default?’ was live and included experts in the cyber security and policy fields, including;

  • Richard White, CEO WiseTech Global
  • Jason Matusow (US), General Manager of Corporate Standards Group, Microsoft
  • Johanna Weaver, Director, ANU Tech Policy Design Centre
  • Ciaran Martin, CyberCX Global Advisory Board, CyberCX UK Chairman, and former head of UK National Cyber Security Centre
  • Victor Dominello, Executive Director, Tech Council of Australia; Director, UNSW UTS Trustworthy Digital Society Hub
  • Narelle Devine CSM, Chief Information Security Officer Asia Pacific, Telstra.

The closing panel focused on what the most significant tech breakthrough of the next decade will be. Entrepreneurs and scientists, including Dr Aengus Tran, co-founder and CEO of HarrisonAi, Luke Latham, General Manager ANZ, Airwallex, and Dr Cathy Foley, Australia’s Chief Scientist, shared their insights for the next wave of tech innovations, including quantum computing, AI, lab-grown foods, electric vehicles and advancements in the payments system.

They discussed the implications of these groundbreaking innovations and the limitless potential they hold. The TCA National Technology Summit 2023 is supported by the Queensland Govt. Other sponsors include TechnologyOne, AWS, Microsoft, Swyftx, Airwallex, CyberCX, Stripe, Go1, Howard Smith Wharves, Nightlife Music and AgriTech Association.