The incoming Victorian Government's decision to demote the IT portfolio has been lambasted by one Melbourne value-added reseller who said it sends the wrong message to overseas investors.
The Australian Information Processing Centre's managing director, Robert Beck, told ARN yesterday: "The watering down of the IT portfolio will impact the ability of the Victorian IT community to attract new business or expand. It sends a message to potential overseas investors that the new Government is not as pro-IT as the previous. [Potential investors] may feel they are better off taking their business to Sydney."
Beck said that as a result of the decision he may need to explain to his overseas partners why he has an office in Melbourne and not Sydney.
The new Victorian Government recently announced it would move the IT portfolio from the front bench and place it in the care of a Parliamentary Secretary reporting to John Brumby.
The announcement caused an uproar in the Victorian IT community with Richard Hogg, head of the Australian Computer Society's Victorian branch, expressing his anger in the media.
The newly appointed minister John Brumby then chided Hogg over his comments which implied the IT industry would lose confidence in the Victorian Government.
Brumby and Hogg met last week, at Hogg's request, to discuss the issue and as a result the CSV branch head soften his response.
Hogg said: "I have stepped back from my original disappointment because I was unfortunately not commenting on the full picture. The original announcement did not explain that three portfolios were rolled into one. The Australian, on Tuesday last week, reported the Government's handling of the PR could have been better," he said.
At the meeting with the minister "it was explained to me that the three portfolios rolled into one are Multimedia, IT and Regional Development and will come under [the portfolio of] John Brumby. It obscures the fact that Brumby is technically the IT minister and John informs me that he is the third ranking minister in the Government. So IT does get quite good coverage," Hogg said.
Hogg now thinks having a Parliamentary Secretary reporting on the IT portfolio to the minister "does not appear to be as negative as we first thought. I don't think it will have any different impact on resellers as it did under the previous Government."