The Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA), and the Australian Computer Society (ACS) are urging the Turnbull government to accelerate the digitisation of the economy.
The AIIA also called for the adoption of an electronic voting system following a drawn out count, which is still being completed more than a week after election day.
“Given the world is rapidly changing, we must move fast to set our course or risk being left behind,” said Rob Fitzpatrick, CEO of the AIIA in a statement. “Australia’s prosperity hinges on our ability to innovate, which in turn will drive jobs, growth and importantly, our global competitiveness. And to innovate, we need the right environment with the right infrastructure in place.”
That sentiment was echoed by ACS president, Anthony Wong who said that both parties made strong commitments to the ongoing support of digital development and digital literacy throughout the election campaign.
“Now, it is time for the incoming government to make good on its promises to secure Australia’s digital future and progress our digital economy,” Wong said.
Both groups urged the Turnbull Government, which is edging towards a slim majority in the federal parliament, to address the lack of digital and IT skills in Australia and improve diversity in the industry.
They also agreed that the NBN roll-out should be fast-tracked.
“It is an undisputed fact that Australia is falling behind in broadband speeds, and the delay in improving our infrastructure is putting our economic prosperity at risk,” said Fitzpatrick. “With increased broadband comes more innovation, more jobs, and greater economic growth.”
“The completion of the NBN must be seen as an immediate priority,” said Wong. “High speed, high quality broadband is now viewed as a basic utility. If we are to encourage growth in our economy, we must provide schools, universities and businesses with the right tools to grow.”
Australia stands 60th in the world according in terms of internet speeds, according to Akamai’s latest State of the Internet report, a fact Wong called ’embarrassing’.
The AIIA said that electronic voting, the source of much debate, should be adopted as soon as possible as part of a digital transformation of government.
“This past election itself has been a great example,” said Fitzpatrick. “With electronic voting in place, we would have known the outcome of the election far sooner and the electoral process would cost fewer taxpayer dollars to run in the long term.”
The ACS said the government should ‘expedite the implementation of its Cyber Security Strategy’ which was launched in April.
Both groups released key priorities for the next government ahead of the election. The ACS had a five point manifesto and the AIIA issued a position statement – Step it up: accelerating digitisation of Australia’s economy.