ACS: ICT services exports key to establishing digital economy

Society calls for ICT Australia brand

The growth of ICT exports needs to be supported with an Australian ICT brand, the Australian Computer Society (ACS) has reported.

The latest Australian ICT Trade Update has found that ICT goods and services are in the top 10 exports for Australia and account for 1.8 per cent of exports. During 2009, ICT exports fell 11 per cent to $4.5 billion.

ACS vice president, Jacky Harnett, said this is due to the global financial crisis (GFC) and a high Australian dollar.

“That means it is harder for the ICT industry to compete internationally because the prices of their services have gone up. What we need to do is work harder as a group to have an Australian ICT brand so people appreciate companies for the service they get,” she said.

She said the ACS plans to meet with government representatives to establish a global business brand, similar to the Australian Made brand. “A brand will get the ICT sector integrated so we can compete with companies in countries like China.”

Hartnett said the incentive will come from the ICT industry. “What this report highlights is that what is a very healthy part of the economy has been impacted by the GFC.

When people are under stress this gives them incentive to come together and do something," she said.

She also said ICT exports have the potential for growth as the demand for services continues from countries such as New Zealand, the US, Singapore and Hong Kong. ICT services exports were worth $2.3 billion in 2009.

Harnett said that it is pleased to see the National Broadband Network (NBN) progressing but government needs to look at impetus to grow the digital economy.

“We would like to see growth and development of a national digital economy framework in parallel to the NBN to support the opportunities of e-commerce. The ICT sector that develops the services as well as provides the infrastructure needs support. Exporting e-services will not only help to improve trade, it will help to power the economy.”

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