The year that was

The year 1997 was an excellent one for the ACS. We addressed a number of major issues and expanded our influence in key sectorsLast year the ACS was active in driving government IT policy at both the state and federal level, lobbying for a greater focus on IT and also for initiatives to promote growth within the industry.

While the year began with only one IT-related ministry at state level, it ended with nearly all the states as well as the Common-wealth featuring IT portfolios, another outcome for which the ACS pushed heavily.

My congratulations and thanks to my predecessor, Tom Worthington, who played a key role in presenting the ACS' point of view to several government inquiries and committees, as well as working to raise the profile of the Society at all levels of the profession, industry and government.

During 1997, the ACS also saw another important landmark achieved with the completion of the ACS Towards 2000 project, which involved a tightening of the requirements for Professional Membership.

The membership restructure was a major step forward in raising the status both of the organisation and its members and represented the culmination of five years work which included the definition of an Australian Core Body of Knowledge.

With these important milestones providing a firm foundation, the ACS is now preparing to host the 17th conference of the South East Asian Region Computer Confederation (SEARCC) in Darwin in July.

SEARCC'98 will be a highly significant event on the world IT calendar, attracting representatives from all 15 of the SEARCC member nations and various other countries.

A highlight of the event will be the Regional E-Commerce Summit, to be chaired by Federal Communications Minister, Senator Richard Alston, which will allow IT-related ministers from each nation to plan jointe-commerce initiatives.

This is a wonderful opportunity for the ACS, the profession, industry and government to work together in an activity that can only help promote Australia and the Region as being at the forefront of the e-commerce revolution.

This coming year will bring many challenges, such as the need for Australia to focus more closely on developing the number of skilled IT professionals and knowledge workers needed to resource this fast-growing industry.

The ACS will continue to build the

profile of its members within the profession, the industry and with government and the wider community, to ensure our voice is

heard and heeded when we speak on issues of importance.

As president, I will work to support and represent our members and to ensure the Society operates even more efficiently and effectively. I have also made it my goal to develop the various branches into a more cohesive entity which presents a polished and unified front to all the organisations with which we interact.

I encourage each of you to take an active role in the ACS during 1998. As a volunteer organisation, we depend heavily on the participation of members. For our profession to keep moving forward, we need your involvement and support.

If you have any comments on the work of the Society, or suggestions about areas where we can increase our activities, please e-mail me at p_ralston@darwin.ntu.edu.auLet's work together to make 1998 a year to remember!

Prins Ralston is president of the ACS

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