Brunner/Tursky: Three goals for taking greater advantage of digitalisation for Austria
Digitalisation has been included in the remit of the Ministry of Finance, bringing together all competencies in the areas of digitalisation, telecommunications and broadband expansion under one umbrella.
Speaking about the expansion of the Ministry of Finance's agenda, Finance Minister Magnus Brunner said: "Digitalisation in all its forms represents a significant challenge for the future, and most of all an opportunity for citizens, the economy and administration. Together, we will continue to make the most of these opportunities, and bringing them together within the Ministry of Finance will make a positive contribution here. We have therefore outlined the following three goals: We want to improve the framework conditions to make society fit for the digital transition. We want to facilitate digital innovation and improved technology transfer in the economy. And we want to continue to encourage coordination and implementation of e-government solutions for citizens across Austria, as well as the economy."
Only strategically sound digitalisation policy will make life easier for people day-to-day, offering equality of opportunity for Austria as a centre of commerce and industry. This is why the Ministry of Finance has already set out focal points: Earnings from cryptocurrencies have been subject to a tax rate of 27.5% since March 2022, and therefore capital gains tax deducted at source. The introduction of the digital tax has ensured that large digital companies pay the correct taxes in Europe, too.
Over the next few weeks and months, a further three focal points will added:
Encouraging digital administration
Official procedures for citizens and companies are to be further simplified and digitalised, enabling citizens increasingly to complete digital administrative procedures wherever they are, for example on a smartphone or tablet at home. The Ministry of Finance has been at the forefront in Europe for many years in this respect with FinanzOnline.
Having the right framework conditions is crucial for a location to be attractive. Most importantly, digitalisation here includes expansion of digital infrastructure. The aim is to achieve comprehensive broadband expansion by 2030. By then, the whole of Austria is to be provided with mobile and fixed wireless Internet – with fibre-optic cables. The Federal Government is undertaking broadband expansion with a total of 2.5 billion euros for the period of 2015 to 2026. By 2030, the whole of Austria is to be provided with mobile and fixed wireless Internet with fibre-optic cables. A second billion for broadband (1.4 billion euros) is currently providing a significant boost here.
Digitalisation offers myriad opportunities. To ensure that as many people as possible can make the most it, we have to increase digital literacy, since only people who are comfortable with digitalisation stand to gain from it. This is why education and training, particularly in this area, are key for future success. Digital skills are now more important than ever. They are also a decisive success factor for growth and new jobs in Austria.
State Secretary Florian Tursky says: "Whether at home or at work, we all need fast, stable Internet, as well as the digital applications and apps to get the most out of it. To this end, firstly we will provide fast, mobile gigabit Internet connections comprehensively across Austria by 2030. Secondly, all official processes will also be offered digitally by 2024. At the same time, we will invest in citizens' digital skills. After all, even the best technological innovations are useless if they are not used by the public."