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Industry calls for SmartICT approach

The Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) has called on all political parties in the Federal Election to embrace reforms to six policy, legislative and incentive areas to ensure the ongoing critical contribution of ICT (Information and Communications Technology) to Australia’s digital economy, to support sustained economic growth and global competitiveness.

Launching its SmartICT: Prosperity for all Australians Election Platform in Sydney recently, AIIA CEO Suzanne Campbell said the next Government must address these issues if it is to accelerate the value of Australia’s digital economy – currently valued at some $100 billion – and ensure sustained national prosperity.

The six areas outlined in the AIIA’s SmartICT Election Platform include:

1. Driving take up and use of our national broadband infrastructure, with a particular focus on Government use of SmartICT;

2. Stimulating growth and innovation by ICT start-ups and small businesses;

3. Motivating small and medium sized enterprises to improve their productivity by ‘getting’ online and digitally capable;

4. Addressing the ICT skills shortage;

5. Growing our ICT capability through improved research and development (R&D) capability and capacity, and forging better links between research and industry; and

6. Acknowledging the ‘value’ of the digital economy by tracking and measuring its performance.

"The ICT industry contributes as much to Australia’s economy as the mining sector, and only marginally less than the manufacturing, and finance and insurance sectors. It is a substantial contributor to the Australian economy and the high standard of living that Australians enjoy,” Campbell said.

"ICT is fundamentally changing the way things are done. It has transformed the music and publishing industries; it is driving new retail, health service and education models; offering smart logistics and service delivery systems; and revolutionising how we operate our primary and manufacturing industries. The potential of digital technology across all sectors is game changing.

"Despite the roll-out of a ubiquitous high speed broadband network, Australia’s performance in many other areas is letting us down. We are not optimising ICT capabilities in ways that can transform our economy and society, or drive growth and competitiveness.

"Infrastructure, Government commitment to using ICT, skills and education, R&D and innovation incentives, and a framework that monitors, measures and reports our performance to ensure sustained relevance and competitiveness are all critical to ensuring Australia is a competitive player in the global digital economy.

"If our political parties are truly focused on sustained, long-term growth and national prosperity, then we call on them to support AIIA’s SmartICT Election Platform,” Campbell concluded.

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