Microsoft offers Federal Govt IT blueprint

Microsoft Australia's managing director Paul Houghton is meeting with political leaders in Canberra today to present the vendor's 'blueprint' for a renewed focus on strengthening and revitalising the local IT sector.

Houghton is submitting a policy platform document 'Technology Policy Blueprint: The Way Forward' to Canberra policy makers, including the Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, Department of Industry, Tourism and Resources, Attorney General's Department and National Office of Information Economy.

A Microsoft spokesperson said Houghton's visit includes meeting with the officers of IT Minister Senator Richard Alston, Minister for Education, Training and Youth Affairs Brendan Nelson, and the Attorney General Daryl Williams.

The Democrats and ALP are also being briefed.

According to Houghton, the Government must renew its focus on Australia's 'technology agenda', which is critical to the development of a highly skilled Australian population and strong national economy.

"While Australia is currently faring well in broad economic terms, the IT sector underpins global economic growth, and continued focus on the local IT industry will only further encourage this upward trajectory," Houghton said.

Microsoft's submission includes five key recommendations to the Australian Government: Connectivity and bandwidth, Helping Industry Build Trust in the Online World, Protecting intellectual property to boost innovation, Bridging the digital divide, Education and the Skills Gap.

According to Microsoft, while the Australian Government has done much to improve the climate of the digital economy generally through innovation policy, "there are a number of specific issues that need to be addressed to further our shared goal of creating an innovative industry, a clever economy and IT-smart society".

"We are already seeing extensive change in this new economic landscape; however, there are many factors that threaten to impede further progress or reduce the gains that Australia could obtain over the short-term," Houghton said.

He said the Government should continue to deliver on its Innovation strategy, particularly in areas that haven't been adequately addressed, "such as tax changes around creative remuneration schemes and capital gains, while continuing to strengthen the IT policy framework in a number of other important issue areas".

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