Australian state wants ICT help on digital plan

SYDNEY, Australia — The New South Wales government is calling on the ICT industry to help shape the state’s recent Digital Economy Action Plan through detailed comment and formal submissions on the plan and its terms of reference.

The plan, launched in September and led by IBM’s Glenn Wightwick, seeks to develop a decade-long strategy to increase industry growth, productivity and innovation, and export performance.

The plan is the new state government’s effort to solicit industry feedback on major challenges such as identifying ongoing barriers to growth and innovation in NSW.

“We need to hear what you think the industry is good at – where its strengths lie, both locally and globally. And we also need to hear about the opportunities for growth, both short and long term,” the Government’s Action Plan website states.

“We also need to hear what is limiting you, or likely to limit you, taking up these opportunities — these could include issues around regulations, skills and training, innovation and productivity, R&D or infrastructure.”

The government is calling for formal submissions but is also running an open forum for four weeks on questions such as issues facing small business, regional businesses, exporters, entrepreneurs; how collaboration, knowledge and technology transfer can be improved for better innovation and productivity; and how access to foreign markets, finance, and skill development is limiting opportunities.

The launch of the Action Plan follows the July announcement of a new ICT Governance framework. Launched by NSW minister for finance and services, Greg Pearce, comes amid stiff competition from rival technology states Queensland and Victoria.

In June, the government said it was making a “front and centre” focus on the state’s ICT industry with the first Strategic ICT Forum to take place at NSW Parliament.

Andrew Stoner, deputy premier and minister for trade and investment said the forum, which consisted of more than 80 industry and government leaders, would facilitate the engagement between those in the industry and the government’s ICT strategy.

“Industry must be engaged in the development of programs that stimulate the ICT sector and lead to innovation and efficiency within government,” Stoner said.

ICT was also factored in the recent state election with the NSW government stating in March that it would establish a new ICT governance body and consulting committee with the private sector to provide advice on key projects, including potential migration to a Cloud computing model.

Comments for the online forums close November 18, while written submissions have to be in by Nov. 25.

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