Conroy: Expect job losses due to NBN and Internet sales

Minister claims more jobs will be created as businesses get online

Expect job losses as business adopt new technology - that's the message from Communications Minister, Senator Stephen Conroy.

The Minister made the comments during an online retail forum in Sydney designed to encourage businesses to develop Internet businesses. The event was held one day after book retail giant, REDgroup, went into administration citing Internet rivals offering much cheaper prices.

“It’s a tragedy when anybody goes out of business and people lose their jobs,” he said. “There are a whole variety of complex reasons why companies go out of business and [the Internet] may be a factor and influence on it. It’s too early at this stage to make judgement.”

But the Minister warned Australians to expect more changes to come as businesses moved online. Using Kodak as an example, he said the company was forced to adapt as people moved to digital devices.

“Technology marches on and there will be transformation and there will be new jobs and there clearly over time could be job losses,” Minister Stephen Conroy said. “You need to be multi-platform now…you need to expand into the online market and that’s what today has been about.”

REDgroup, which owns the Borders and Angus & Robertson book retail chains, said parallel importing regulations and Internet rivals were a major cause of its financial woes.

It was one of the major retailers that paid for large ads in major publications calling on the Government to introduce GST charges for online sales worth less than $1000.

The Productivity Commission is currently investing the effect of eCommerce on traditional retailers, but will not return a final report until November, 2011.