The new CEO of the Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) believes that the ICT industry is not recognised at a level equivalent to the contribution it makes to the Australian economy.
Ian Birks will officially step in as interim CEO of the AIIA today, replacing Sheryle Moon. He told Computerworld that raising the image and value of the ICT industry, addressing the skills shortage and expanding environmental initiatives will be among the AIIA's major concerns under his reign.
"We make a tremendous contribution within this industry to the whole nation's economy, and I have to say that I feel that it is not necessarily recognized sufficiently across the whole spectrum of government and business," Birks said.
"I see it as an interesting challenge to get in and try to improve that wider perception of the value of the ICT industry."
Birks felt the new Rudd government appreciates the value that the ICT industry contributes to the nation more so than governments in the past, but acknowledges that is just the first step in raising the profile of the industry.
He believes the AIIA must continue to provide insight to federal and state governments about the positive contribution to productivity that ICT is making, and that it is not an enabling or facilitating industry but rather a transformational one.
"When you look at things like climate change as being one of the major issues government and society has to deal with, we have to look at that and ask where are the solutions to a lot of these climate change challenges going to come from? They are going to come from the ICT industry," he said.
Birks feels that in some quarters ICT is seen as a "big guzzler of carbon footprints" and not necessarily a positive agent for change.
"That's just one example where we've got to be clearly messaging what we can do as an industry in a positive sense for government and society in general."
One example on the environmental agenda is the AIIA's desire to see Victoria's successful ByteBack scheme rolled out nationally.