Victoria Minister for Technology Gordon Rich-Phillips
Coalition Unveils $85 Million ICT Plan
Victor P Taffa
The Victorian Coalition Government today unveiled its new $85 Million plan to support continuing growth, development and global competitiveness in Victoria’s information and communications technology (ICT) sector, and promote ICT-enabled innovation across the economy.
The plan fulfils the Coalition Government’s election commitment to implement a new ICT plan in collaboration with industry, and establish firm targets for ICT skills development, investment and export and the development of ICT infrastructure in Victoria.
Speaking at the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering Symposium in Melbourne today, Minister for Technology Gordon Rich-Phillips said the ICT plan aimed to build Victoria’s capability to support the application of ICT in other industries.
“The plan is part of the Coalition Government’s suite of technology strategies under Victoria’s Technology Plan for the Future, which reflects the government’s approach to supporting technology and commitment to driving productivity growth in new ways.” Mr. Rich-Phillips said.
“The Coalition Government recognises the key role ICT plays in contributing to a competitive, productive and growing Victorian economy, building on Victoria’s reputation as a leading centre for ICT.”
“The ICT plan will support the sector in overcoming current and future challenges, while promoting ICT-enabled innovation more broadly across Victorian industry and generating opportunities from technology convergence.” Mr. Rich-Phillips said.
A key component of the ICT plan is the $11 Million Digital Futures Fund which supports collaborative projects in the ICT sector and with other partners to develop emerging ICT capabilities in Victoria.
The Technology Trade and International Partnering Program will provide assistance for export ready Victorian companies to attend recognised overseas ICT trade fairs and participate in trade missions.
The $18 Million Broadband Enabled-Innovation Program will provide grants to innovative projects to develop new ways of working and improving service delivery in business, government and the community through the use of high-capacity broadband.
An investment of around $2 Million in a suite of ICT skills initiatives, in partnership with industry and the education sector, will deliver targeted programs for the continued growth of ICT in Victoria.
“Our vision for the future is to bring together the transformative power of the major technology platforms biotechnology, ICT and small technologies to unleash greater innovation and wider economic benefits.”
“It is this approach which will not only propel results for our ICT sector, but also help to drive and enable growth, productivity and competitiveness in other industries through the adoption of technology.” Mr. Rich-Phillips said.
Australian Information Industry Association Victoria Chair Russell Yardley said Victoria was wonderfully placed to be a major participant in the digitised economy.
“We have the research capacity, skills base and digital-ready companies to innovate and collaborate to maximise the economic value necessary to provide a higher standard of living for all Victorians. This plan with its strong focus on capability development and ICT-enabled innovation will benefit all Victorians, but importantly the ICT industry in Victoria.” Mr. Yardley said.
Director of the Victorian Branch of the Australian Industry Group Tim Piper said Victoria’s Technology Plan for the Future looked to provide the key impetus to deliver industry-wide benefits, particularly over new ubiquitous broadband infrastructure.
“As Victoria is a recognised leader in developing technologies in key fields of excellence, the real benefit is the extent to which industry has the capacity to adopt and adapt technology for productivity gains and to enable innovation. This can particularly assist non high-tech industries which need assistance in utilising new infrastructure.” Mr. Piper said.
AIMIA National President Simon Goodrich said AIMIA was happy to see support for emerging ICT capabilities a core strength of its members.
“We look forward to more opportunities to collaborate with government and industry with these new technologies.” Mr. Goodrich said.
ACS Victoria Chairman Ian Dennis said it was pleasing to see the Victorian Government recognised the economic significance of the 140,000-strong Victorian ICT workforce.
“The ACS also notes the positive support that the Victorian Government plans to provide to Victorian ICT companies to benefit from the NBN roll-out, supporting both new, and the 2.7 Million-plus existing, internet subscribers in Victoria.” Mr. Dennis said.
Victoria’s Technology Plan for the Future Information and Communication Technology is the third of a suite of technology statements to support Victorian technology industries and technology-enabled innovation, with others including Biotechnology and Small Technologies.
This brings the Government’s commitment to developing Victoria’s technology sector to $150 Million.