Little left in the kitty for IT industry: Budget 06-07

Despite increased funding for major government IT projects such as the $1.1 billion smartcard rollout, there was little left in the kitty for industry initiatives or programs announced by IT Minister Senator Helen Coonan.

The minister has made available $33.1 million for a Do Not Call Register to protect consumers from telemarketers, but little else. This project is being touted as a "significant" IT initiative.

The focus was on funding initiatives for TV and radio broadcasting, orchestras, youth festivals and sporting events.

Despite the dearth of cash, Australian Computer Society (ACS) president Philip Argy said the focus should be on changing tender processes so they are not written with a preferred winner in mind.

"My general approach is don't look for cash as it is not what the industry needs; it needs conduct and catalyzing behaviours for innovation," he said.

"I met with the minister yesterday and want to see changes to the way government procurement operates, with more [innovative] pilot installations. "Australia has a massive risk averse problem; my view is that we don't need cash handouts but opportunities."

Argy also said more resources need to be made available to Austrade to support industry's development capability.

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