The Australian Computer Society (ACS) has called on the federal government to ensure ICT is a national priority following the release of the 2006/07 Budget this week.
ACS president Philip Argy said the Budget initiatives of greatest value to the ICT industry are those designed to stimulate growth for SMEs. Argy said the Australian ICT sector is largely made up of small to medium size enterprises.
"This is the heartland territory for much of our technology innovation, and it is where our greatest potential lies for ICT export growth," he said.
"For this reason, we are particularly encouraged by the venture capital initiatives in this year's Budget, including $200 million for technology development via an innovation investment fund program and a further $73 million for Invest Australia."
The ACS also highlighted the $495 million overhaul of Department of Immigration computer system.
Argy called upon DIMIA to structure the tender so it fully considers local SMEs, and not just the larger suppliers.
"ICT forms the backbone on which Australian industry functions, facilitating productivity and cost efficiency across most Australian businesses. Recent studies have shown, ICT's contribution to GDP is now greater than that of agriculture, forestry and fishing, defence and education," he said.
"We are calling on the government to ensure we continue to leverage the contribution made by our ICT sector to the nation's overall economic welfare by ensuring ICT and the health of the ICT sector is treated as a national priority.
"We feel this will be achieved most efficiently via the creation of a long-term government and industry supported national ICT plan."