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Microsoft proposal rejected by Federal government

Microsoft proposal rejected by Federal government

The Government has rejected Microsoft's lobbying efforts, claiming that there is no money to respond to any IT proposals submitted.

Microsoft Australia managing director, Paul Houghton, met with political leaders in Canberra Wednesday to present 'Technology Policy Blueprint: The Way Forward', its proposal for a renewed focus on strengthening and revitalising the local IT sector.

However a Government official contacted Computerworld to say that there is absolutely no money available to do anything that Microsoft is proposing.

The official said that his general manager and manager met with Houghton yesterday to discuss the vendor's 'blueprint', but said it appears the Minister from his Department does not want to meet with Houghton.

"Everything that Mr Houghton says in his mantra about improving the digital economy- we are currently working on. But it cannot be emphasised enough- that it has been made clear that there is absolutely no money to do anything that Microsoft is proposing," the official said.

He also told Computerworld that his Department has been expressly told that 'no new policy proposals are needed'.

"Any comment that the Government makes on this issue would merely be pointing out existing money and programs that already exist, as an example, the ITOL ( Information Technology Online) program [of grants]," he said.

The anonymous official said his Department is frustrated in its attempts to achieve similar goals to Houghton.

"We cannot attain these goals without money. Which is being used to ferry immigrants around the South Pacific," he said.

Houghton submitted the policy platform document 'Technology Policy Blueprint: The Way Forward' to Canberra policy makers, including the Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, Department of Industry, Tourism and Resources, Attorney General's Department and National Office of Information Economy.

A Microsoft spokesperson said Houghton's visit included meeting with the officers of IT Minister Senator Richard Alston, Minister for Education, Training and Youth Affairs Brendan Nelson, and the Attorney General Daryl Williams.

The Democrats and ALP were also said to be briefed.

Microsoft's submission includes five key recommendations to the Australian Government: Connectivity and bandwidth, Helping Industry Build Trust in the Online World, Protecting intellectual property to boost innovation, Bridging the digital divide, Education and the Skills Gap.


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