Support for a quantum commercialisation hub is a component of a plan for “critical technologies” that Scott Morrison will unveil on Wednesday.

The government will invest greater than $100 million in quantum technology, including $70 million over a decade for the hub to pursue partnerships with “likeminded” countries to commercialise Australia’s quantum research and help businesses find markets and investors.

The government has already signed a co-operation agreement with the United States.

Chief Scientist Cathy Foley will lead the event of a quantum strategy.

Quantum technology has vast potential in computing, defence, and cryptography.

The government’s “blueprint” says critical technologies – which could be digital, resembling artificial intelligence or non-digital, resembling synthetic biology – are those able “to significantly enhance or pose risk to our national interest”.

“They are fundamental to Australia’s economic prosperity, social cohesion and national security, and are increasingly the main target of international geopolitical competition,” the document says.

Although the blueprint doesn’t spell it out, it is evident that the danger posed by China is one central consideration in the federal government’s interested by the necessity to each advance and protect Australia’s critical technologies.

“Critical technologies confer a strategic edge, and at a time of intensifying geostrategic competition, this could be used to threaten our values, interests and lifestyle,” the blueprint says.

The critical technologies plan includes an inventory of 63 technologies but the federal government is specializing in nine.

These are critical minerals extraction and processing; advanced communications (including 5G and 6G); artificial intelligence; cyber security technologies; genomics and genetic engineering; novel antibiotics, antivirals and vaccines; low emission alternative fuels; quantum technologies; and autonomous vehicles, drones, swarming and collaborative robotics.

In a speech to the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, released ahead of delivery, Morrison says one goal in the federal government’s blueprint is to “maintain the integrity of our research, science, ideas, information and capabilities – to enable Australian industries to thrive and maximise our sovereign IP”.

Morrison says “quantum science and technology has the potential to revolutionise a complete range of industries, including finance, communications, energy, health, agriculture, manufacturing, transport, and mining.

“Quantum sensors, for instance, could improve the invention of beneficial ore deposits and make groundwater monitoring more efficient; and quantum communications could provide for secure exchange of knowledge to raised secure financial transactions.

“Quantum technologies can even have defence applications, like enabling navigation in GPS denied environments and helping to guard us from advanced cyber attacks.”

Morrison says Australia leads globally in several facets of quantum technology, and has a foundation for a thriving quantum industry. The national quantum strategy would higher integrate the activities of industry and government.

“I’m confident the brand new strategy will help position Australia as a quantum technology leader within the Indo-Pacific.”

Morrison says technology reflects the values of the society that creates and uses it.

“We want technology to guard our residents’ autonomy, privacy and data.

“Australia, just like the United States, is committed to playing our part in order that rules and norms around technology reflect the values of our open societies.

“But … not all governments see technology the identical way,” he says.

“We cannot shrink back from the moral implications of latest technologies.

“We have to be asking ourselves what must be done with technology — not only what could be done.

“Ensuring our residents understand that technologies are secure and secure and dealing of their interest is prime in providing the enabling environment crucial to support deployment.”

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