Victoria backs growth through e-commerce

E-commerce is expected to drive real economic growth of 2.7 per cent in Victoria by 2008, John Brumby, the Victorian minister for State and Regional Development, said this week.

Brumby was speaking at the preview for this year's Interact Asia Pacific Multimedia Festival which will be held in Melbourne from August 21 to September 3.

This year's Interact Festival will focus on e-commerce, which reflects the increasingly important role e-commerce will play in driving economic growth in the coming years.

"Estimates are that e-commerce will add nearly 3 per cent to Australia's GDP in the next 10 years. We want Victoria to take a large share of that e-commerce growth," said Brumby.

Brumby also quoted figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics for 1998 that state 70 per cent of Victorian businesses used PCs, and 35 per cent had internet access, compared to 27 per cent in New South Wales, Western Australia and South Australia.

"What these figures show is that most Victorian businesses already have the infrastructure they need to be e-commerce users. What they need is the know-how, the support, encouragement, inspiration and ideas to make it work, and that's what the Interact Festival this year will provide," he said.

According to Brumby, the Victorian State Government is providing $500,000 to sponsor this year's Interact event, a $100,000 increase on last year's sponsorship package.

The reason for the increase in sponsorship dollars is the importance of the internet, communications and technology industries in driving growth in the Victorian and Australian economy, Brumby said.

The Interact Festival will also, for the first time, receive sponsorship from the commercial sector, namely Ericsson and Sausage Software. Although the amount sponsored was not disclosed, Brumby described it as "significant".

Brumby also announced that the Parliamentary Secretary of State and Regional Development, Tony Robinson, has been appointed as chairman of the Interact Board.

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