Queensland to invest A$14M in ICT

The Government of Queensland in Australia will pump-prime the state’s ICT sector to the tune of A$18.5 million (US$14.1 million) over the next four years in an effort to bolster the local technology industry and boost exports.

The funding was announced on Tuesday by the Queensland Premier, Peter Beattie, as part of a new initiative dubbed “Smart ICT — Taking it to the world”.

According to Beattie, the ICT industry employs an estimated 56,000 Queenslanders and has annual revenue of A$14.6 billion, including more than A$3 billion in interstate sales.

“Overseas exports are worth A$850 million, and a challenge for the government and the industry is to work together to promote exports, and so build more jobs and income for Queenslanders,” Beattie said.

Smart ICT has targeted 10 areas of growth.

One plan entails the transforming of at least four medium-sized companies (of between 20 and 200 staff) into businesses with at least 200 staff by 2008. However, none were identified.

Another is the establishment of a virtual advisor to give online business advice, particularly for regional businesses.

A program to help promote the creative talents of the Queensland ICT industry to state and federal government agencies, with the Queensland government currently the biggest single customer of the Sunshine State’s IT industry and is projected to spend over of A$1billion per year on ICT over the next three years.

The government will conduct annual surveys of the ICT industry to ensure ensuring program expenditures are properly implemented.

Queensland has long been regarded as the research and development home of the Australian IT security industry with cryptographer RSA Security, The Australian Computer Emergency Response Team (AusCERT) and commercial research outfit the Distributed Systems Technology Centre (DSTC) all calling the state home.