AIIA backs National Digital Economy Strategy

The group's CEO, Ian Birks, noted the importance to move beyond talks around the technical aspects of the network and on to participation

The Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) has thrown its weight behind the Gillard Government’s establishment of a National Digital Economy Strategy.

The strategy, outlined by communications minister, Senator Stephen Conroy, at the CeBit Conference in Sydney, is to improve access to health and education services for Australians.

See photos and all the action from the event.

AIIA chief executive, Ian Birks, noted the importance of the move from talking about the network and technical discussions, to looking at participation and content.

“That is the only reason to rollout broadband on a national scale, the only way that its value will be realised and the priority for Australia’s role in the global economy," Birks said in a statement.

"This strategy represents the first step towards that shift.

“That will mean the intelligent application of technology to redefine business models, engage and revitalise the enormous contribution that regional Australia has to make and address broad issues ranging from social cohesion to environmental sustainability."

According to Birks, the strategy has a “well-defined” scope and accurately identifies a number of key issues.

“The government’s eight-point plan (households, business, environment, health, education, telework, government and regions) certainly reflects the focus that we need to make as a nation.”

The organisation also commended the inclusion of metrics to be included in each area which aim to track and hit economic and community targets by 2020.

The strategy aims to lift Australia into the top five Organisations for Economic Cooperation (OECD) countries in terms of broadband connectivity, double the number of teleworkers in Australia from six to 12 per cent, and reduce over-the-counter transactions with government to one in five.

“Equally, the focus on regional Australia will be an imperative,” Birks said. “Putting every sector of the Australian economy on an equal footing will make a substantial contribution to the national economy.”

Prioritising online engagement and the development in applications for business, health, education and government is essential, Birks said, with implementation important to ensure uptake and confidence in users.

“Our aspiration to be a globally leading digital economy by 2020 means that we must work smarter, do more with less and generate tangible returns for individual businesses and national productivity,” he said.

“We believe that business engagement and consumer confidence will play a central role in the success of a digital economy in Australia.

“The end-game for Australia will be the establishment of a vibrant digital economy that maximises the ability of business and industry to compete both domestically and internationally.”

Follow Chloe Herrick on Twitter: @chloe_CW

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU

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