The Federal Government's decision to create an Information Technology portfolio, headed by senator Richard Alston, has been received favourably by many within the industry.
Only last month, the Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) published a 10-point manifesto, outlining the need for an incoming Federal Government to appoint an Information Technology Minister and adopt and implement a range of industry recommendations to ensure its further development.
The manifesto calls for government intervention in the areas of IT education, Y2K rectification, electronic commerce and research and development.
"We've had a fairly poor regime in terms of encouraging investment and creating a positive climate for its growth," Michael Hedley, AIIA's corporate relations manager claimed last week.
According to Hedley, although Australia provides a steady growth and a good legal system that maintains security and protection for investors, several changes in the tax system - especially in the area of capital gains tax - need to be introduced in order to facilitate more foreign investment in the local IT industry.
At the same time, however, struggling small IT channel organisations, such as resellers who are facing the onslaught of large enterprises entering the local market, will require assistance in dealing with financially burdening Y2K compliance and e-commerce introduction in order to remain locally and internationally competitive.
But Hedley does not believe the Government should consider any form of direct intervention such as financial assistance, explaining that it is important "for our industry as a whole not to create artificial schemes that would force prices to go up and make Australia less competitive in the global market".
However, the AIIA sees e-commerce as an important window of opportunity for small channel service and product providers to maintain and even improve their position in the market.