AIIA calls for national innovation agenda

By Dylan Bushell-Embling
Monday, 11 February, 2019

AIIA calls for national innovation agenda

The Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) has urged the government to work to foster the development of digital skills and innovation, and to transform ICT procurement.

In its pre-Budget submission, the association made a series of recommendations aimed at preparing Australia for the digital economy.

A major area of focus is addressing the significant shortfall of digital skills in the Australian workforce, according to AIIA CEO Ron Gauci.

“Fostering the skills needed for the future with the right policies, regulatory framework and funding is critical to Australia’s economic growth and productivity,” he said.

“There is currently a significant shortfall of available digital skills and expertise in the Australian workforce. The AIIA is committed to ensuring that the right digital skills are identified, developed and funded with the support of government policies and legislation.”

In its submission, the industry body made recommendations including the development and implementation of a national education campaign to raise awareness of the career paths available for digital careers, and developing nationally accredited vocational education and training qualifications to fill critical digital skills shortages.

Meanwhile, to foster an environment of innovation and encourage research and development, the AIIA is recommending that an advisory body be established to drive a national innovation agenda.

The AIIA is also urging the government to offer increased grants and internationally competitive tax incentives to encourage the digital industry to undertake R&D activities in Australia.

The third pillar of the AIIA submission revolves around procurement. “Currently the national opportunity to foster business entrepreneurship and innovation in government services is being hampered by complex and risk averse procurement processes,” Gauci said.

“The AIIA would like to see the establishment of an advisory body to improve the digital sourcing capability and digital literacy of the Australian Public Service in partnership with industry and research institutions.”

The submission also recommends that the government work towards simplifying and improving transparency in digital sourcing processes, in collaboration with industry and research institutes.

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