Foreign Investment Framework Tweaks Could Hinder Australia’s Quantum Future
(ZDnet) Australia’s quantum technology sector is worried about the problems the Foreign Investment Reform (Protecting Australia’s National Security) Bill 2020 could create for the nascent industry. Australia is updating its foreign investment review framework with the overarching goal of addressing national security risks, strengthening compliance, and streamlining investment in non-sensitive businesses.
“At its present stage of development, I would expect the Australian quantum technology industry to primarily develop through some combination of startup businesses forming to exploit the fruits of our research and by foreign companies partnering with locals to bring our research outputs into their organisation,” Dr Michael Harvey said in a submission to Treasury. “Both these scenarios will potentially be affected by the proposed changes to Australia’s Foreign Investment Review Framework.”
Harvey is the program manager for the Translational Research Laboratory in the ARC Centre of Excellence for Engineered Quantum Systems (EQUS). EQUS was established in 2017 as an initiative between the University of Queensland, the University of Sydney, the University of Western Australia, Macquarie University, and the Australian National University.
Harvey said a quantum technology startup may find it difficult or even impossible to determine whether they are a “national security business” because of the subjectivity in the test as currently enunciated.