The Victorian State Government has announced a $310 million Invest in Innovation program to boost the State's research and development in science, engineering and technology over five years, with the IT&T industry positioned to get its fair share of the funding.
Victorian premier Jeff Kennett said the funding would be used to initiate and support a range of programs designed to enhance relationships between government, business and educational institutions.
With training high on the agenda, a number of projects have already been given the go-ahead to foster IT skills across a number of sectors, according to a spokesperson for the Minister for Industry, Science and Technology.
These include: $8 million for the Expanding Science and Technology in Schools program, representing a major effort in science education R&D; one million dollars for Information and Communications Technologies Skills Development; and a further $5 million for the Technology Commercialisation Program to develop export-oriented, high-tech businesses, skilled jobs, products and services.
Another $2.1 million dollars has been allotted to bolster the semiconductor industry in Victoria and $4.8 million to tackle the international problem of medium to long -term electronic archiving.
Funding criteria for companies looking to initiate projects for Investing in Innovation include the need for Government participation in the endeavour, generation of a net benefit for Victoria, and the advancement of Victoria's science, engineering or technology sectors, said a statement released by the Government.
This investment follows moves by other Australian states to make significant inroads into IT development. Earlier this year, the Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) welcomed the Queensland Government's initiative "Towards a Communications and Information Strategic Plan" to help foster IT&T development.
Said Doug Stevenson, AIIA Queensland branch convenor: "Australia needs to ensure that all states are marshalling forces for the Australian IT&T industry to be globally competitive."http://www.innovation.vic.gov.au