Boosting Connectivity And Safety For Australians

Dept of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications

The Albanese Labor Government is connecting and protecting Australians, with a key focus on tackling the scourge of scams, improving safeguards for children online, and narrowing the digital gap for First Nations communities.

Investments in this Budget totalling $1.3 billion over 4 years will see an upgraded National Broadband Network (NBN) and stronger measures in place to protect against scams, reduce potential harms from gambling-like content in computer games, tackle exposure to age-inappropriate content online, and progress First Nations digital inclusion.

Tackling Scams

The Albanese Government is protecting Australians by introducing a comprehensive, multi-regulator approach to crack down on scams.

  • To bolster new mandatory industry rules on banks, telcos and digital platforms, the Australian Communications and Media Authority will receive $12.4 million over four years from 2024-25 to oversee the review and improve existing scam call and SMS code for telcos, and boost enforcement action to prevent, detect, and disrupt scams.

The mandatory rules complement the SMS Sender ID Registry funded in the 2023-2024 Budget to block scammers from spoofing message headers from legitimate organisations, and the successful Treasury-led National Anti-Scam Centre.

Boosting First Nations digital inclusion

The Albanese Government is narrowing the digital gap by supporting more First Nations communities enjoy the transformational benefits of connectivity.

  • $48.0 million from 2024-2025 will deliver additional free community Wi-Fi in remote First Nations communities, establish a First Nations Digital Support Hub and a network of digital mentors to 2 develop digital capability and support safe use, and improve the national collection of data on First Nations digital inclusion.

This funding extends the Government’s investment of up to $20.0 million announced in February 2024 to provide free community Wi-Fi services to around 20 First Nations communities, and responds to recommendations from the First Nations Digital Inclusion Advisory Group established in January 2023.

Protecting children from harm

The Albanese Government is taking important steps to improve protections for children online by committing funding to progress an age assurance trial.

$6.5 million will fund a trial to test different technologies and age assurance approaches, including in relation to privacy and security requirements.

The outcomes will help inform the existing work of Australia’s eSafety Commissioner under the Online Safety Act – including through the development of industry codes or standards – to reduce children’s exposure to age-inappropriate material.

Better protecting children from gambling-like content in computer games

The Albanese Government is helping parents to make more informed choices about the computer games their children play, with new rules for games containing gambling-like features coming into effect from September 2024.

  • $1.0 million over two years from 2024-25 to fund education and awareness of the Government’s new mandatory minimum classifications for gambling-like content in computer games.

The new classifications mean that from September, computer games containing in-game purchases linked to elements of chance – such as paid loot boxes – will receive a minimum classification of M (Mature – not recommended for children under 15 years of age), while games containing simulated gambling will receive a minimum classification of R 18+ (legally restricted to adults aged 18 or older).

These new rules build on the Albanese Government’s strong record when it comes to the minimisation of gambling harms, including by banning credit cards for online wagering and launching BetStop – the National Self-Exclusion Register.

Delivering a better National Broadband Network

The Albanese Government is delivering fibre upgrades so that more Australian families and small businesses can access world-class, high quality broadband.

  • $1.2 billion in 2024-25 from the Government’s broader $2.4 billion equity investment will be released to support NBN Co’s ongoing fibre upgrade program. The upgrades will ensure that 10 million premises on the fixed line network can access gigabit speeds by the end of 2025.

Quality broadband unlocks digital opportunities, enables remote work and education, improve access to telehealth, and boosts economic productivity and participation.

The Government’s 2024-25 investments will deliver a more connected, protected and vibrant nation – from our suburbs right through to our most remote communities.

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