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Editorial: We all sell fish

Editorial: We all sell fish

Federal Budgets represent a time when everybody gets just a little bit selfish. When it comes to the big ledger of the fancy big house underpinning the management of the Commonwealth of Australia and all its realms of influence, the overall effect is irrelevant for each individual.

All we really care about is what's in it for me, me and me. How can I ‘sell' more of my ‘fish'?

The average working bloke on the street wants to know how much tax will be added to beer and cigarettes or what changes may be implemented to weekly pay packets. Government politicians are only interested in satisfying their political goals, which generally revolve around getting re-elected. Small, medium and large businesses just want to know what is being done to make them more profitable while each Government agency fuelled by Federal funds waits to see how much gas is pumped into their tanks.

Each and every lobby group, minority interest, participating party or collection of people with something at stake is only really interested in how the budget affects them.

So how did the IT distribution channel, which is what we all care about most, fare from this year's diddling of the national books?

Unfortunately, there was little to be pleased about, according to the straw poll conducted by ARN last week. There was no great pain but there were no great stimuli either. Sure, some security solution vendors and their partners will benefit from the additional spending on defence and communications infrastructure, but there won't be any singing and dancing in the street.

Big service providers and network integrators with defence and Government customers might get some rub from the $153 million allocated to the so-called "e-security national agenda" but this won't help the channel's average SME-servicing, value-adding box shifter.

Education providers might be able to pocket a few dollars from the allowance granted to older people so they can learn to use computers and there may even be a few extra first-time PC buyers as a result. Again, $23 million on training 11,500 people is not enough to get too excited about.

It's good for the industry that there has been some recognition that national public and private information and communications infrastructure need to be soundly secured. So too that the technology-intensive defence industry is to be given a boost after several years of stagnation. However, perhaps the best news for the channel comes in the form of the Federal Government's forecasts for the future.

Data#3's CEO, John Grant, pointed out last week that Treasurer Peter Costello during his speech predicted an investment swing next year away from real estate and into business. It's amazing what a quarter of a per cent interest rate rise can do.

That being the case, Grant deduces this to be a good sign for resellers. "Business investment has been well down in the last few years," he said. "[The Federal Government] is forecasting business investment to increase by about 12 per cent in the next 12 months. That business investment will obviously be across a range of areas but you would have to construe from that there will be some flow-on to IT."

The forecast of bigger business investment has to be good for the channel, as is one other piece of big-picture economics that came to light as I wrote this editorial. Last week, the Aussie dollar pushed back into the 55 cents per US dollar range. Still a far cry from the 1980s, but our struggling currency did attain its highest price since January 2001.

Is that the sweet scent of fresh fish in the channel that I detect?


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