Victorian Government pushes for NBN in ICT plan

Government claims the ICT industry will be transformed by the NBN

The Victorian Government has used its ICT plan to promote Labor’s National Broadband Network and aim for over 1 million properties to be connected by 2015.

According to the Victorian ICT Action Plan released on October 13, Victoria is gunning to have the ‘deepest’ NBN fibre rollout of any state in Australia.

“The…plan will accelerate innovative use and application of ICT across our economy,” it said. “Victoria continues to rely on and be a major beneficiary of ICT.

“The Victorian Government will actively facilitate and advocate for the earliest and most extensive possible deployment of the NBN,” it added. “The ubiquitous broadband society will open up a range of transformative capabilities such as real-time access to high volume data and computer power.”

The report speculated that the ICT software and service industry would experience significant changes and growth thanks to the widespread use of fibre-to-the-home.

“The imperative to find less resource intensive ICT solutions will consume greater industry effort,” it said.

But Victorian Shadow Minister for Information technology, Gordon Rich-Phillips, said the report was largely a rehash of a previous plan released in 2005 aside from new KPIs and references to the NBN.

“Leveraging off the new NBN is of course a given for Victorian IT companies,” he said. “The new key performance indicators (KPIs) are fairly non-specific and meaningless and the existing KPIs have not been upgraded to reflect the growth in the industry.”

Although Rich-Phillips agreed with State Premier, John Brumby, that Victoria was Australia’s leader in IT, he claimed the Labor Government’s financial incentives for the industry was not the reason.

“Is the Victorian taxpayer getting benefits for those investments?” he said. “A lot of details are never disclosed and they’re pretty important in judging whether we’re getting a good deal out of these activities.”

The KPIs released as part of the report include:

  • Victoria has the deepest NBN fibre roll out of any state
  • More than one million Victorian households and businesses taking a broadband service over the NBN by 2015
  • Two globally significant challenges addressed by local ICT-enabled solutions by 2015
  • Five new international research partnerships or projects established by 2015
  • Victorian expenditure on ICT R&D is the highest in Australia, as a percentage of GSP
  • Value of ICT industry revenue generated from exports and overseas operations accounts for 15 per cent of total Victorian ICT industry revenue by 2015
  • Value of exports facilitated by Victorian Government activities more than $150 million per annum
  • Value of ICT investment facilitated by Victorian Government activities worth more than $150"million per annum
  • More than 800 new ICT industry jobs facilitated by the Victorian Government per annum
  • ICT workers employed in other sectors across the economy account for more than five"per"cent of the total Victorian workforce
  • Victoria maintains the largest share of higher education ICT students (graduates and postgraduates) in Australia