New research has flagged ICT investment as key to boosting productivity growth in the face of the economic downturn.
The report, commissioned by IBM and conducted by Access Economics, revealed microeconomic policy and advancements in technology as two main paths towards boosting economic productivity. According to principal and director of Access Economics, Dr Ric Simes, a considerable amount of research had been conducted in Australia since the 1990s around what drives productivity growth.
“While there are differences of detail in the various research, a strong, overriding message emerges that is, combining economic reform and innovation, and adoption of new technologies provides the greatest scope to improve productivity throughout the economy,” he said.
Simes highlighted advancements in ICT over the years had influenced economic productivity in three ways: Technology producing more costeffective solutions; user benefits from the increased range of ICT services; and decreased costs, along with the ability to improve an organisation’s capital, skills and labour.
He outlined five areas in the economy that stand to benefit in adopting improved technology including water, energy, wholesale and retail trade, transport and communications.
“The most significant issue in terms of communications on the policy table today is the rollout of high-speed broadband. In recent years, Australia has failed to develop an effective regulatory regime to encourage investment in the core infrastructure for the system,” Simes said.
“Of course, considerable investments have been undertaken in parts of the system. For example, in densely populated parts of our cities or in mobile technologies, but the benefits from high-speed broadband that is enjoyed by a large majority of the community remains some way off.”