The Internet Industry Association has called for immediate action to address Australia’s “alarming” deterioration in digital competitiveness and innovation.
The call for government action follows the Monday release of the coalition’s digital economy and e-government policy which pointed to a decline in Australia’s competitiveness and innovation compared to other Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development countries.
The policy, launched in Melbourne by opposition communications spokesperson Malcolm Turnbull, aims to cut waste in technology procurement and enable Australians to more easily deal with government departments with the creation of a secure digital mailbox for all government interactions.
IIA chief executive, Peter Lee, called on both the government and the coalition to announce clear policy that supports the non-mining sector and invests in Australia's economic future, focusing on reforms that encourage innovation, diversity and long-term sustainability.
“We are pleased to see that the Coalition has now publicly released its policy and announced the need for immediate action to address Australia’s recent and alarming deterioration in global rankings with regard to our digital competitiveness and innovation,” he said.
“To the Labor Government’s credit, it did launch its National Digital Economy Strategy back in May, 2011 and recently updated it in June this year."
However, while the government’s updated strategy puts forward 24 key initiatives across eight digital economy goals and seven key enablers, Lee believed many of the actions appeared superficial or had not yet materialised into anything measurable.
“While both sides of politics appear committed and understand the importance of embracing the digital revolution, now is the time to take action or get left behind in a competitive global economy,” he said.
Lee welcomed a more cooperative approach with the states, territories and private sector in order to reduce duplication, save costs and expedite positive and more aligned outcomes.
“Providing more transparency on the outcomes and effectiveness of government investment such as, the creation of a ‘dashboard’ publishing key metrics on Government ICT performance and progress on major new investments, is also welcomed by the IIA.”