Australia's peak ICT industry body is urging the federal government to look past the NBN when considering investment in Australia's digital future.
The Australian Information Industry Association has called on government to rise to the challenge of a changing economy by taking advantage of transformative opportunities presented by the digital technology to drive competitiveness.
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AIIA chief executive, Suzanne Campbell, said it had never been more important to facilitate the growth of businesses using digital technology, as she launched SmartICT 2014, AIIA's policy priorities for the year. "As the structure of the Australian economy continues to evolve rapidly, only those that harness smart ICT to deliver globally competitive products and services will thrive," she said.
"A robust, agile ICT sector is key to achieving this. Campbell said Australia was at a "critical point."
"To remain competitive in the new knowledge-based digital economy, Australia has to foster a high quality, high value ICT sector to deliver innovation across all industries," she said. "It is time for us to move beyond focusing on building broadband infrastructure, to how we use it to drive global competitive advantage and, at a local level, create and retain capability here in Australia."
The three key planks of SmartICT 2014 include building a sustainable, innovative and globally competitive Australian ICT Industry; building the skills and research, regulatory and innovation environment necessary foster home grown innovation and, leveraging next generation broadband.
Campbell said the government's 'digital first' policy and repositioning on possible changes to employee share scheme laws were a good start. "However, significant work remains if Australia is to harness the potential of new technologies to drive growth and seize the opportunity for continued prosperity," she said. "If governments and industry are truly motivated to create growth in the Australian economy, then we call on them to support SmartICT 2014 initiatives and act with urgency," Ms Campbell concluded.