Quantum Computing

The federal government wants more quantum research commercialised – as it eyes off a US supplier for its secretive computer plan

- February 22, 2024 3 MIN READ
Ed Husic
Federal industry and science minister Ed Husic visiting quantum computing startup Diraq. Photo: Diraq
Quantum technologies are the “future of made in Australia’, federal industry minister Ed Husic said as he pushed for more quantum research commercialisation in Australia.

Husic made a speech at a Quantum Australia event on Wednesday morning, focusing on the federal government’s National Quantum Strategy and efforts to make Australia a quantum powerhouse in the future.

Australia’s first quantum strategy was unveiled in May last year, with a focus on research and development, supply chain, workforce, standards and equality.

The plan aims to cement Australia’s position as a world leader in quantum, which is forecast to create just under 20,000 jobs by 2045.

This strategy will serve as a “north star for decision-making not just by us but by private and public capital”, Husic said, and has a specific focus on sovereign capability in the quantum sector.

“The National Quantum Strategy is about more than quantum technologies,” Husic said in the speech.

“It is about building things here. Believing that Australia can be more than a research destination, or a place where we just dig it and ship it.

“In our quantum strategy is the seed of an idea that cynics roll their eyes at. That the future is happening here, not somewhere else. Quantum technologies are the future of made in Australia.

“Our collective efforts – as industry, researchers and governments – see the world turning towards Australia for what’s next.”

Husic said he wants more of Australia’s world-leading quantum research to be commercialised locally, so the full benefits can be recognised by Australia.

“We want companies choosing Australia as the destination that doesn’t just seed brilliant ideas but has the resources to grow them here,” he said.


The speech comes a week after Industry Department officials confirmed the existence of a secretive expression of interest process for the government to procure a quantum computer, with a US company rumoured to be the frontrunner.

The government approached more than 20 companies as part of this “exploration process” that started last August in order to “explore the maturity of the market around quantum computing”.

US-based firm PsiQuantum is believed to be the favoured candidate in this process. Rumours that an American company may be selected over a local quantum firm has created unrest within the Australian industry.

The MYEFO update late last year allocated funding for the National Quantum Strategy in 2023-24, but this figure was kept secret due to “commercial sensitivities”.

Husic did not mention this secretive process in his speech, which focused on the local quantum sector’s capability and potential.

Pointing to quantum being mentioned in the Treasurer’s budget speech last year, Husic said a number of government ministers are now advocates for the industry.

“Australia’s quantum potential is being promoted at the highest levels of government,” he said.

“The Prime Minister regularly references it; the Defence Minister has talked about it. We’re fast becoming a government of quantum experts.”

Last year, governments across Australia invested an estimated $893 million in quantum.

The federal government recently opened applications for $18.5 million in grants for a group of industry and academic partners to operate the Australian Centre for Quantum Growth.

And last year quantum pioneer Professor Michelle Simmons won the Prime Minister’s 2023 Prize for Science.

Professor Simmons founded Silicon Quantum Computing based on her early research in quantum computing, and has been credited with world-first breakthroughs in the race to design and manufacture commercial-scale quantum computers.

“We’re a global pioneer in cutting-edge quantum research and have been for decades – despite being on the other side of the world, the world knows our quantum pedigree,” Husic said.

“We want to crowd in all of this activity here in Australia.”