Australia's $3.5 billion software trade deficit and poor performance as an IT producer has turned the country into a remote outpost of the new economy that is being held hostage by US multinationals, according to the CEO of one of Australia's top publicly listed companies.
In a scathing attack on the Federal Government's IT policy platform, Technology One CEO Adrian Di Marco said US multinationals have been the only beneficiaries of the Australian IT landscape at the expense of local innovation.
Di Marco was responding to an article in Computerworld Online last week (print edition April 22, p4), which quoted Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) research claiming Australia has benefited from the new economy because it is a heavy user of IT not a producer and supported policies to foster its use rather than increasing production capabilities.
He said the research is based on the theory "the more I spend the better off I am", and called on the Government to adopt some "common sense".
"It is not about consumption but production but the road I am advocating is just too hard so everyone continues to tap dance around the real issues," Di Marco said.
"As a user we are further down the food chain than producers; the recent economic wealth of the US has been created because it is a huge provider of IT. The new economy benefits those who actually produce the technology.
"We are losing control over the development of our own software industry due to lack of government support and the massive influence of multinationals.
"There are very few Australian software companies developing intellectual property; instead the industry is moving to service-based companies that typically service the products of multinationals."
Di Marco said the Federal Government fails to speak to local success stories preferring to form committees filled with "friends of government" such as US vendors and academics.
"It is a constant uphill battle to convince Australian business and government that we have the people and knowledge to compete successfully with the major suppliers from the UK and US," he said.