The Federal Government has called on industry to grow its online presence and e–commerce facilities to help boost Australia’s digital economy.
In its Future Directions of the Digital Economy report, released today, the government said Australian businesses risked losing their existing customer base or missing the opportunity to access new markets if they did not build a greater online capacity.
“New companies, including those located overseas, are competing for the Australian customer base,” the report said. “As the Australian Industry Group noted, by failing to provide an ability to sell online, traditional retailers were disenfranchising Australian consumers, particularly those in remote areas.”
The government acknowledged that concerns about people hacking into the system and the cost and time to introduce a new technology were major barriers to further e–commerce adoption.
“Both of these reasons suggest a lack of confidence about security and a lack of appreciation of the benefits, which in many cases may outweigh the costs of adopting greater online presence,” the report said.
The Government also called on industry to a focus on the availability of specialised ICT skills to better equip Australia with the necessary knowledge and skills base to maximise the benefits of the digital economy.
“Industry has a role to play in providing on–the–job training through corporate training programs and work experience and internship placements,” the report said. “Within Australia, industry also undertakes various initiatives to promote the attractiveness of ICT studies and to encourage the development of ICT training and education.”
Industry should also adopt 'smart' technology to enable a more efficient use of resources, systems and infrastructure in areas such as electricity, transport, health, water irrigation systems and high speed broadband infrastructure, the report said.
This included the use of ‘smart’ metering to identify consumption of gas, water and electricity in more detail than a conventional meter, greater use of teleworking and video conferencing to limit travel, and better management of e-waste.
The report also called for industry to develop sustainable online content models in response to the disruptive effect of technology, such as the national broadband network and peer to peer file sharing - on the media sector.