Government releases interim report on safe and responsible AI

January 24, 2024

On 17 January, the Government released its interim response to the Department of Industry consultation on Safe and Responsible AI.

There were more than 500 submissions to the consultation (here), including from Copyright Agency, Copyright Agency members, Australian Society of Authors, Australian Publishers Association, National Association for the Visual Arts and Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance.

You can download the Government’s interim response here, see the Department of Industry’s announcement here and the media release from the Minister for Industry and Science here.

The interim response says:

In considering the right regulatory approach to implementing safety guardrails, the government’s underlying aim will be to help ensure that the development and deployment of AI systems in Australia in legitimate, but high-risk settings, is safe and can be relied upon, while ensuring the use of AI in low-risk settings can continue to flourish largely unimpeded. Our immediate focus will be on considering what mandatory safety safeguards are appropriate, and how best to implement them, informed by developments in other countries.

While the government considers mandatory guardrails for AI development and use and next steps, it is also taking immediate action through:

    • working with industry to develop a voluntary AI Safety Standard, implementing risk-based guardrails for industry
    • working with industry to develop options for voluntary labelling and watermarking of AI-generated materials
    • establishing an expert advisory body to support the development of options for further AI guardrails.

The interim response refers to the Department of Industry working with other areas of Government including ‘ongoing research and consultation by the Attorney-General’s Department and IP Australia, including through the AI Working Group of the IP Policy Group, on the implications of AI on copyright and broader IP law’.

In December 2023, the Attorney General announced the establishment of a Copyright and AI Reference Group (here), which was welcomed by Australia’s creative industries (here).