The head of Australia’s technology commercialisation body has called for unification across industry groups to better improve ICT’s economic and social standing nationally and abroad.
National ICT Australia (NICTA) CEO and industry veteran, David Skellern, said Australia’s ICT industry had grown in size, but not in scale. A lack of industry consensus on the best way forward, as well poor export performance, were significant factors, he claimed.
“We seem to have hit this barrier of being able to grow companies larger… It’s just a little odd so many have yet to hit a large size while serving a huge portion of the Australian economy,” Skellern said.
He pointed to market statistics that indicated 85 per cent of Australia’s 26,000 ICT companies had less than four staff, while 95 per cent had less than 20 staff. Only one per cent had 100 people or more.
“Although we make very good use of ICT to be competitive in all sorts of areas in the economy, and to increase productivity, we can’t seem to translate that into taking products and services to the world in any significant way,” Skellern said.
Better unity across the industry and within Government, especially in light of the opportunities presented by the National Broadband Network (NBN), was the best way to achiev growth, he explained.
“We have more than 20 industry organisations driving different sectors of the ICT industry in different directions but we don’t have any one organisation representing a large number and a significant representation,” Skellern said.
“We need to put our little separate objectives in together and make them subservient to the industry as a whole. We have to put more of a say and voice into the direction the economy is working and I think the NBN is the kind of rallying point for us to do this.
“If we don’t take up this enormous opportunity to work together, and to deliver the outcomes a ubiquitous broadband infrastructure can provide, then we really will have lost a golden opportunity.”
Skellern was one of several keynote speakers discussing strategies for Australia’s National Broadband Network (NBN) at the CeBIT 2010 Australian show. NICTA specialises in researching and commercialising new technologies for the ICT industry.
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