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Turnbull: Accelerate Australia's digital transformation

11 Jul 16

The Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) is putting pressure on the new Turnbull Government to accelerate the ‘transformation of Australia’ to a digital economy.

The AIIA says a digital economy is necessary is Australia wants to be competitive on the global stage.

“Congratulations to the Liberal National Party coalition on forming government,” Rob Fitzpatrick, CEO of the AIIA says.

“The AIIA looks forward to working with this new Government, along with elected officials across all party lines, to help lift Australia’s prosperity and growth as a matter of priority,” he says.

Fitzpatrick says Australia’s future is exciting, but digital technology is advancing rapidly.

“Without a doubt, digital technology will underpin our entire economy,” he says.

“Given the world is rapidly changing, we must move fast to set our course or risk being left behind,” says Fitzpatrick.

“Australia’s prosperity hinges on our ability to innovate, which in turn will drive jobs, growth and importantly, our global competitiveness,” he explains.

“And to innovate, we need the right environment with the right infrastructure in place.”

The AIIA says there are four key areas the Turnbull Government needs to prioritise:

  1. Development and maturity of Australia’s digital talent and skills base;
  2. Business adoption and integration of digital technology;
  3. Delivery of high performing, competitive digital infrastructure; and
  4. Digital transformation of Government.

Prior to the election, the AIIA issued a position statement that details its recommendations to the next government on how to implement these four key priorities.

Development and maturity of Australia’s digital talent and skills base
Forty-five percent of the jobs that we know of today will disappear in the next 15 years, and 75% of the jobs replacing these will require STEM skills. 

To build the world-class, data-driven workforce needed for this future, the AIIA calls on the Turnbull Government to invest in a coordinated approach to STEM education, focusing the 300 plus disparate initiatives that exist today, encourage diversity in STEM, including women and mature aged workers, and improve ICT university graduate outcomes.

Business adoption and integration of digital technology
Going digital provides all businesses an opportunity to create new business models, reinvent core processes, improve efficiency, drive productivity and get closer to the customer.

“Digitisation must reach not just large global companies but also SMEs so that innovation, competition and growth can benefit all of Australia,” says Fitzpatrick.

“SMEs in particular are significantly underinvested in technology. They lack awareness of what options are available to them and they lack the capacity to implement changes even when they identify them, limiting the ability to grow their business,” he adds.

The AIIA calls for the Turnbull Government to drive business adoption of technology in a way that includes SMEs. The AIIA has laid out recommendations targeting this problem, including encouraging SMEs to use proposed tax cuts as an opportunity to invest in development of their digital capability, and development of education and training initiatives.

Delivery of high performing, competitive digital infrastructure
Australia’s future economic growth depends on all Australians and Australian businesses having access to fast, ubiquitous, and affordable Internet as soon as possible. The AIIA calls on the Turnbull Government to fast track access to world-class internet connections, including the NBN rollout and 5G wireless technologies.

“It is an undisputed fact that Australia is falling behind in broadband speeds, and the delay in improving our infrastructure is putting our economic prosperity at risk,” says Fitzpatrick. “With increased broadband comes more innovation, more jobs, and greater economic growth.”

Digital transformation of Government
According to Deloitte, 40% of the estimated 811 million transactions conducted at the federal and state levels each year are still completed using traditional channels.

As the biggest spender of ICT services, the AIIA believes the Australian government should be the exemplar of digital transformation.

“This past election itself has been a great example. With electronic voting in place, we would have known the outcome of the election far sooner and the electoral process would cost fewer taxpayer dollars to run in the long term,” Fitzpatrick says.

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