Digital Capability

Digital Capability

The scale and scope of rapid technological developments will drive productivity, growth and investment, as well as improve public services, and enable scientific breakthroughs. At the same time, it can cause great disruption to employment markets and society at large.

Melbourne must be digitally capable to successfully navigate the significant challenges and opportunities of the 21st century.

The Digital Innovation Festival (24 August-7 September 2018) is buzzing all around Melbourne and the Committee for Melbourne has been right in the thick of it.

Digital capability is one of Melbourne 4.0’s key Strategic Needs. This includes our successful initiative to create the Victorian All-Party Parliamentary Group on Artificial Intelligence earlier this year and the establishment of the Committee’s AI Taskforce.

At the Festival on Tuesday 28 August, Committee for Melbourne CEO Martine Letts joined Kathy Coultas from DEDJTR and Cheryl George from CSIRO/Data61 on the opening panel to discuss the adoption of a 'whole of government - whole of community' approach to AI and the steps being taken for collaboration on ensuring:

  • The community understand the significance of AI and the pace of change
  • The significant change of thinking needed if Melbourne wants to with the tech revolution
  • The importance of the recently formed Victorian All-Party Parliamentary Group on Artificial intelligence 
  • The establishment of an AI roadmap for Australia and the challenges of ethics
  • The importance of government investment in innovation and technology hubs 
  • The formation of a Committee for Melbourne AI Taskforce to address immediate and future needs. 


Martine said that getting on top of the opportunities and challenges of AI had deep implications far beyond our city, for the future of international relationships and the international rules-based system in security, trade, the environment and for all the international rules and codes of conduct we had developed since the end of WWII.

Later that afternoon at the Festival's Pearcey Day, speakers celebrated Australia and Melbourne’s proud history of ICT innovation:

  • the world’s oldest surviving first-generation electronic computer, CSIRAC
  • the more recent Wifi


They discussed how we can use these skills to thrive in an environment totally defined by rapid and radical technological change. 

Martine joined the CEO of Innovation and Science Australia, Charlie Day and founder of the Australian Digital Transformation Agency, Paul Shetler to discuss whether Australian leaders in government and business fully understand how to successfully steward their businesses through the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

The consensus was that Melbourne and Australia were falling behind, through complacency and lack of courageous leadership in board rooms and in government, where risk aversion and short-term interests and targets still dominated. 

Committee for Melbourne’s role in providing a trusted environment for discussing these challenges with business, academia, civil society and government was also highlighted.

Paul Shetler’s Pearcey oration which followed focused on how technology was changing economies around the world and what needed to urgently change in Australia to generate wealth and prosperity for future generations.

Paul argued that:

  • the Federal Government must make “big bets” on technology and moonshot industries, rather than just handing out start up grants as a route to kick-starting innovation in Australia
  • Australian tech companies needed to be much more ruthlessly competitive to achieve the kind of successes necessary to transform the economy
  • Outdated regulatory regimes which stifle competitiveness also need to be changed.

On Wednesday 8 August 2018, in a first for Australia, Victorian MPs from all sides of politics met at Parliament House to discuss what is arguably the greatest strategic issue facing our society, Artificial Intelligence (AI).

Co-convened by the Victorian Minister for Innovation and the Digital Economy, The Hon. Philip Dalidakis MP, and Shadow Minister for Innovation, David Southwick MP, the inaugural Victorian All-Party Parliamentary Group on Artificial Intelligence (VAPPGAI) meeting featured Matt Kuperholz, Partner and Chief Data Scientist at PwC Australia.

Voted by his peers as Australia’s number one Analytics Leader, Matt Kuperholz briefed representatives on the nature and complexities of AI, including its various uses, opportunities, impacts and implications for Victoria, and Australia.

During the meeting both Dalidakis and Southwick acknowledged that how government will respond to AI will impact all aspects of the Victorian community, hence the importance of discussing the challenges and opportunities that will arise as this technology develops.

Shadow Minister Southwick and Minister Dalidakis at the the first VAPPGAI meeting

Recognised as a Strategic Need in our Melbourne 4.0 report, the Committee recently formed an AI Taskforce to create a set of recommendations for State and Federal governments to adapt to, and benefit from, the challenges and opportunities presented by AI.

To get involved, contact us.

View all the event photos

On May 23 2018, the Committee launched its Artificial Intelligence Taskforce at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre with the participation of 30 senior leaders from our membership.

A first for Melbourne, and hosted by McKinsey and Company, members of the Steering Committee met to discuss the impact and ramifications of Artificial Intelligence (AI).

Committee for Melbourne Chair Scott Tanner chairs the AI Taskforce hosted by McKinsey and Company

While AI will potentially disrupt employment markets and society, attendees listed the inherent opportunities it presents such as its capacity to:

  • drive productivity, growth and investment
  • influence many policy areas, including the importance of full and productive utilisation of data; building fit for purpose infrastructure and skills; mainstreaming AI in major project procurement, and accountability and legal safeguards.

Participants recognised that AI is a critical issue which must be addressed as a matter of urgency by leaders from business, the knowledge sector, “for-purpose” organisations and government.  The Committee for Melbourne has an important role in shaping the discussion.
The creation of this taskforce is part of our Melbourne 4.0 work and coincides with the establishment of the Victorian All-Party Parliamentary Group on Artificial Intelligence on 7 March 2018 with Minister for Innovation, The Hon. Philip Dalidakis MP and Shadow Minister for Innovation, David Southwick MP.
For more information about the AI Taskforce and if you would like to get involved, please contact the Committee for Melbourne Secretariat.



Our current work

  • Victorian All-Party Parliamentary Group on Artificial Intelligence (VAPPGAI)
  • AI Taskforce

Past events and projects

  • AI Taskforce
  • AI Summit

How can you get involved?

As a member of the Committee for Melbourne, you can contribute your and your organisation's knowledge and insight into the various taskforces that are addressing the Strategic Needs.

To register your interest to participate in our taskforces, please email our team at

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