Conroy releases digital economy direction report

Digital economy case studies included in report

Federal communications minister Senator Stephen Conroy has officially launched a new report Australia's Digital Economy: Future Directions calling it a landmark event to chart Australia's digital future.

The report was developed in collaboration with industry and, in August and September last year, the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy hosted workshops and a forum inviting industry to identify where it wanted Australia's digital economy to be in 2013.

Conroy said the key elements of success for Australia's digital economy are a digitally aware and enabling government, a digitally-confident and innovative industry, and a digitally-empowered and literate community.

“The digital economy is essential to Australia's productivity, global competitive standing and improved social well-being,” Conroy said, adding it will ultimately encompass the entire economy and most, if not all, facets of our society.

The final report can be view online in HTML format or downloaded in Rich Text format, open document format, and PDF.

The report has been published under a Creative Commons licence which allows for free non-commercial, non-derivative distribution.

“These [file formats and licence] are relatively novel features for publishing an Australian government report,” Conroy said.

In an effort to make the digital economy “readily comprehensible”, Conroy said it includes 12 case studies to provide an “insight into the stories of Australians who have successfully embraced the digital economy and benefited from it”.

Conroy talked up the government's National Broadband Network (NBN) direction as a central theme of enabling the digital economy, but also tied in other IT-related government initiatives.

“The digital education revolution [is] a $2 billion, five-year commitment to build Australia's digital media literacy amongst school children,” he said. “[And] Enterprise Connect [is] providing business advisory services to small and medium enterprises to help increase their productivity.”

“We recently established an independent Government 2.0 Taskforce to advise on a range of issues that relate to the emerging agenda of online engagement [and] to demonstrate the ability of technology to make our existing energy infrastructure smarter, the Government will invest $100 million in the National Energy Efficiency Initiative.”

Conroy said the government's role in developing the digital economy is that of an enabler.

“Government should enable individuals, households and businesses to take up the opportunities raised by the digital economy,” he said.

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