Feds register their interest in small business compliance debate

Feds register their interest in small business compliance debate

The Federal Government recently launched a Y2K register that will offer a comprehensive database of millennium bug diagnostic tools and solutions - and the companies that provide them - on a single Web site.

According to Senator Ian Campbell, Parliamentary Secretary to The Minister for Communications, Technology and The Arts, this is a considered response to a lack of action on the part of many organisations, particularly SMEs.

"There is a lot of mystification going on regarding Y2K and people are going into denial. They want an incredible technological solution to this problem."

Morris Newman, chairman of Standards Australia, believes that organisations that have yet to act are "simply reckless and can be held financially liable, as well as being refused insurance".

The problem, according to Campbell, is that the consequences won't be confined to the individual organisation.

"Every Australian organisation is interdependent and dependent on others. Even if large corporations have Y2K solutions in place, supply chains, the production process and the economy in general can be damaged by some people's lack of action."

In an attempt to alleviate some of this stress, the Government has allocated $600 million to help organisations ready themselves for the onset of the next century. Yet the Commonwealth is still worried that state governments, businesses and international trading partners are unprepared for the changeover on the 1st of January, 2000.

Newman is adamant that industry and government must become more transparent in their admittance of Y2K compliance.

"General utilities have to be remediated and on the 31st of March, 1999 the stock exchange will be required to report its position, and under law state utilities have to answer a questionnaire by December this year."

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