As part of the Government's push to make Australia Internet-savvy, the Online Council held its fifth ministerial meeting in Brisbane last week to discuss issues affecting the take-up of online technologies.
Among the topics of discussion were: Australia's IT&T skill shortage; the cost and inhibitors of regional access to the Internet and the Government's Online services; and the development of legal and regulatory frameworks.
Comprising representatives and ministers from Local, Federal, State and Territory Governments, the Online Council is a useful forum for the Government to develop a national approach and shape policy regarding issues facing Australia's online economy, said a spokesperson for the office of the Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts.
The Council endorsed a plan of action for a national IT&T career awareness-raising campaign to include the development of an industry-based central Web portal with information concerning IT&T careers, skills requirements, job opportunities and education/training courses.
The ministers sought further collaboration to overcome the inhibitors slowing the online delivery of services, such as security, privacy and cost of access. A number of options where raised to address the level and cost of telecommunications services available to rural and remote areas such as a regional telecommunications database, rural cooperatives and a modelling of the commercial case for investment in regional areas.
In light of recent initiatives, such as the Framework for the National Cooperation on Electronic Commerce in Government Procurement and the Attorney General's Electronic Commerce Bill, the Council also discussed further legal and regulatory frameworks needed to secure confidence in online information and transactions.