Chief execs form IT's ministerial advisory group

An advisory group of 20 Australian-based CEOs from multinational IT companies was announced today to advise IT and Communications Minister Senator Richard Alston on ICT investment opportunities in a bid to sell Australian products overseas.

The group, MultiPLIERS (Multinationals Promoting Local Investment, Export Opportunities and Research Strengths), is a joint initiative between the federal government and Australia's peak body representing technology vendors, the AIIA (Australian Information Industry Association).

The group is made up of chief executives who head up companies with collectively more than $34 million in annual revenues and employing around 85,000 people in Australia. The AIIA will release the names of the member companies shortly, a spokesman for Senator Alston said.

The group will use its members' national and international ICT experience to stimulate investment in Australia and also promote Australia within their own companies and to the wider community.

MultiPLIERS will meet twice a year. Initially the group will focus on identifying growth opportunities and capitalising on them; identifying barriers to investment opportunities and working to resolve them; advising the government on global trends and developments, and coordinating CEO involvement in promoting Australia's ICT capabilities.

The new initiative is linked to the recent ICT Framework for the Future report, 'Enabling Our Future', (released on April 15) which lobbied Australian branches of multinational IT companies to expand their role in attracting and retaining investment in the local ICT industry.

Microsoft Australia voiced its support for the MultiPLIER group, saying it was "an important step forward in implementing a number of key the federal government's recent Framework for the Future report".

Microsoft Australia's managing director Steve Vamos said, "It is vital that we and other key industry participants play our part to encourage and support the development and growth of a strong Australian ICT industry."

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