Federal Budget gets industry tick of approval

Federal Budget gets industry tick of approval

Industry announcements in last week's Federal Budget

Brazzale also highlighted the extension of software depreciation from two-and-a-half years to four years as a "confusing" decision. But Birks played down the impact of FBT restrictions and software tax changes.

"It may change the decision timing but I don't see this being a truly big issue longer term," he said.

Australian Computer Society national president, Kumar Parakala, was pleased by the government's view on communications infrastructure, education and innovation investment and said it would have a flow-on effect to the ICT industry.

But he again stressed the need for stronger ICT leadership around strategy and policy.

"There isn't sufficient detail in the budget which articulates the broad strategies required to grow the ICT sector in Australia. Countries that have done very well in ICT are those that define strategies and allocate funding," he said.

"The government is already so pro-IT compared to the previous government that the level of expectations are higher. The private sector has an important role to play - it's not just up to governments. But the government has an important role in setting the policy."

Another ongoing challenge for the ICT industry was developing long-term skills.

AIIA's Birks said the new Future Education fund would go some way to addressing the skills shortage long-term, while an increase in the number of visas handed out to skilled migrants should also help give businesses some short-term reprieve.

But while the budget is an important indicator for how the government perceives ICT, Intermedium head of consulting, Kevin Noonan, said more significant was the raft of ICT reviews currently being undertaken.

The largest of these is a review into the Federal Government's $16 billion ICT procurement spending by former UK Government Treasury Office CEO, Sir Peter Gershon.

Noonan also pointed out there had been a 2 per cent ICT spending cut across all departments which would have a significant affect on government agency budgets.

"The budget is just one piece of a very complex jigsaw for IT funding and a culmination of stage one of the Razor Gang's plans. These reviews are stage two and are about smarter ways of spending and saving," he said.

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