The Victorian Government has announced an ICT action plan worth $110 million with the aim of creating ICT jobs and to reinforce its status as the IT hub of Australia.
The plan targets six focus areas, including increasing the Victorian ICT industry’s global profile, establishing Victoria as Australia’s ICT research and development (R&D) centre, using ICT to “foster innovation”, building skills, and leading the broadband charge with the National Broadband Network (NBN).
Victorian ICT Minister, John Lenders, said the plan had a dual focus on both the production and use of ICT as well as investments in initiatives, projects and programs, expertise and Victoria’s global ICT profile.
“As Australia’s technology hub, Victoria needs a strong and innovative plan for our broadband future,” Lenders said in a statement. “This new plan includes investment into 160 new highly skilled research jobs at the NICTA [National Information and Communications Technology Australia] Victoria Research Laboratory [VRL].”
“Victoria’s strong ICT capabilities provide the state with the foundation we need to capture the future economic, productive and social benefits from the NBN and the benefits that flow on from it,” he said.
Initiatives of the plan will include $4.1 million over the next four years to implement an online media and digital publishing strategy that will aim to encourage greater collaboration and develop capabilities in new areas.
The plan will look to increase the state’s ICT industry profile on a global scale by establishing a Super Trade Emission Program to India in 2011 to 2012 and continue its focus on trading within markets in the U.S, U.K and Europe.
NICTA VRL will receive $33 million between 2014-2015, to help create 160 new research jobs as the Government aims to boost the state’s research and development profile.
With the increasing use of Gov 2.0 tools to engage with the community, the proposal outlines the use of additional tools, including the support for next generation ICT applications, allocating $9 million to implement the Re-Innovate Broadband Program to develop and pilot projects that potentially use high-speed broadband to improve regional services. While $5 million will help develop next generation ICT applications that use a high capacity broadband environment through the Collaborative Internet Innovation Fund.
$14 million has been assigned to run the second round of the Smart SMEs Market Validation Pilot Program – an R&D initiative that gives SMEs the opportunity to develop technology solutions for government.
A second App My State competition is to run in 2011 and the data.vic.gov.au site will be expanded.
Additionally, $20 million will fund the establishment of fibre links to regional markets, including routes to Mildura and Warrnambool combiningg with the Australian Government’s Regional Backbone Blackspots Program.
$2 million will go to Film Victoria for a suite of digital media programs and $14.9 million will remain for a variety of other programs.
In related Victorian ICT news, IBM has announced it will open a new global research and development lab at the University of Melbourne in early 2011.