The Australian Department of Communication, IT and the Arts(DCITA) has put up A$70,000 (CDN$59,192) with the aim ofkickstarting a national coalition to boost the ICT capacity ofnonprofit organizations.
Community Information Strategies Australia Inc. (CISA) won thepublicly advertised tender to lead the project that includes MonashUniversity’s Center for Community Networking Research, WorkVenturesAustralia, the Nonprofit Roundtable, Albany Consulting andEnergetica. Reference group members include IBM, Cisco, Microsoft,Non-Profit Australia, Our Community and the Australian InformationIndustry Association (AIIA).
Doug Jacquier, chief executive officer of CISA, said the aim isto devise a sustainable model for ICT delivery that will improveoperational efficiency, deliver services and support and help buildnetworks in the not-for-profit sector.
“Non-profit organizations represent around 5 percent ofAustralia’s GDP and deliver many services on behalf ofgovernments,” he said.
“We are looking to encourage government and business investmentin not-for-profit ICT capacity, which is common practice in othercountries. This initiative is a hopeful sign that the commonwealthgovernment and the corporate ICT sector have been listening to usand are prepared to look at options for helping us to helpourselves.”
A DCITA spokesperson said the funding is in response to researchthat shows there are a range of barriers to full adoption andeffective use of ICT within the sector, including access to ICTinfrastructure, hardware and appropriate software, access toreliable technical advice and support, technological literacy, costand a lack of overall strategic direction.
“This has resulted in the uneven adoption of ICT across thesector which has impacted on the full potential ICT has to offer,”she said.
After a series of national consultations, Jacquier hopes to setup a similar coalition to UK ICT Hub (http://www.ictconsortium.org.uk/).
The government has not committed to any ongoing funding, butJacquier is hoping to net around A$8 million over the next twoyears, which will be injected back into the ICT industry.
“We’ll be seeking funds from some of the corporate players andfrom state governments to assist wherever possible in making it abroader process and to broaden our research base. Doing anAustralia-wide consultation is an expensive and time-consumingprocess,” he said.