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ICT Initiatives in the Australian Federal Budget May 13, 2009

Posted by Glenn Irvine in Advocacy, Blog, Commentary, Events, Media.
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It was pleasing to see that what had been pitched as a “Horror” Federal Budget this week has actually been quite kind to the ICT Industry in a number of ways.

While many may argue that the budget was not hard enough, and is a deferral of pain, at least the Innovation Agenda has faired well.

Probably the most interesting aspect of the budget is the fact that there are Capital, Expense, and Revenue initiative headings in the Budget Papers for “Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy“, for “Innovation, Industry, Science and Research” as well as a Sub-Heading under “Education, Employment and Workplace Relations” for “An Innovation and Higher Education System for the 21st Century”.

Strong focus on Innovation and the Digital Economy.

This is pleasing to see, not only from the ICT Industry perspective, but it demonstrates that the Rudd Federal Government is matching rhetoric with budget allocations.

I have listed some of the interesting Budget Items under these headings that I believe may be of interest to the broad ICT Community.

Capital Funding

Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy
$4.7 Billion National Broadband Network — initial investment
$250 Million Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy
Innovation, Industry, Science and Research
$83 Million Innovation Investment Follow-on Fund

Expenses

Attorney Generals
$8.3 Million E‑Security Review
Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy
$54.2 Million National Broadband Network — implementation and establishment
$185.5 Million National ICT Australia (NICTA) — funding extension
var. Numerous ABC and SBS Service Enhancements
Education
$75 Million Queensland University of Technology (Queensland) — Science and Technology Precinct
$50 Million The University of Queensland (Queensland) — Advanced Engineering Building
$40 Million University of Ballarat (Victoria) — Science and Engineering Precinct
$18 Million University of Ballarat (Victoria) — Manufacturing Technology Training Centres
$17.5 Million The University of Melbourne (Victoria) — The Centre for Neural Engineering
$81.9 Million Vocational Education Broadband Network
Foreign Affairs and Trade
$50 Million Australian Trade Commission — Export Market Development Grants scheme — additional funding
Immigration & Citizenship
$34.8 Million Systems for People — operational costs
Innovation, Industry, Science and Research
$38.2 Million National Enabling Technologies Strategy
$1.4 Billion Research and Development Tax Credit
$10 Million Small Business Online Program
+ a range of Research Initiatives with Technology Industry Outcomes

Revenue Measures

50% Tax Break Small Business and General Business Tax Break

The increase and extension of the Tax Break for ICT Appliances and hardware will be a welcome Budget item for many businesses.

Regards,

Glenn Irvine
glenn.irvine@collaborativeview.com

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It’s Time for an Innovation Agenda – State Election 09 February 26, 2009

Posted by Glenn Irvine in Advocacy, Blog, Futuring.
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Queensland has been launched into a snap State election, and the local IT Industry is feeling a little left out of not only the campaign policy platforms by the major parties, but the broader infrastructure dialogue happening at a National level.

There are some clear opportunities that could be picked up by either side of politics, and some simple line items that have been a thorn in the side of the High Technology industries in this state can be easily addressed.

In simple terms, an Innovation Agenda for Queensland could address the following Policy items with ease:

  1. Publish and Release the State Owned Broadband Fibre Network for shared Commercial use by Queensland Companies
  2. Establish a Queensland-based Innovation Precinct with significant Regionally competitive Tax Benefits for High Technology Companies. (IT, Media, Biotech, Games & Hi-Tech Consumer Goods)
  3. Articulate an understanding that the Digital Economy is an integral and critical part of our State’s Infrastructure Vision & Spend, and overall Economic Focus
  4. Mandate Automation of Citizen-facing Government processes and workflows

These four simple points are relatively easy to achieve. Predominantly they are more policy than having any significant funding requirement.

I have often hit the roadblock that automating government processes can cost jobs, but that is 5 year old public sector thinking, and most government departments are under-resourced. Surely the automated efficiencies gained, allows these departments to better utilise what current resources they have.

I’m amazed that at a Federal level, at least, the recent proposed Stimulus Package addresses not one element of Broadband Infrastructure and therefore no significant infrastructure element that supports Australia’s Digital Economy.

It is like we are “Building Railways while all around us other nations are assembling Boeing 747s”

I’d be intrigued to see what the parties come up with for their ICT Policy platforms, and I know the three local industry associations (Software Queensland, AIIA, and the ACS) don’t intend on us hitting the election next month without having these detailed.

Regards,

Glenn Irvine
glenn.irvine@collaborativeview.com