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A raft of other large technology firms, from customer relationship management software seller Salesforce to music streaming service Spotify, have announced similar layoffs. Start-up founders too have groused that it is becoming harder to raise funds for their companies to grow as increasingly cautious investors pull back from putting money into risky new businesses due to rising interest rates and inflation.

But with technology skills still in high demand and the labour market tight, Husic argues Australia will still benefit from technology experts overseas coming back or setting up branches of their companies here. “For years we suffered a brain drain,” he said. “I figured it was time for the brain regain.”

Husic acknowledges obstacles to this plan, from companies that want better access to America’s much larger market to the tax difficulties of moving US retirement savings to Australia, which the start-ups he has spoken to told him about. “There are some practical things there and we do want to start a process of examining how we cut red tape and make it easy for Australians who want to return home to do so quickly,” Husic said, without providing details.

He also demurs when asked about the decisions of Australian technology companies such as Atlassian and Canva to base their legal parent entities in America.

Legislation on the reconstruction fund is before Parliament.

While he travels, Husic is reading Chip Wars, a book that argues computer chips are essential for economic and military supremacy in the 21st century. Australia has almost no computer chip industry and while it would be very difficult to build one because of dominant players overseas, Husic would like Australia to play some role in the supply chain. But he is cautious about the cost.

“I have deep pockets but I think they can always go deeper,” he said. “When it comes to semiconductors they can always go deeper.”


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#Time #brain #regain #Husic #lure #Aussies #home #faces #tech #rout

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