Industry bodies call on govt to support IT sector

By Dylan Bushell-Embling
Tuesday, 21 May, 2019

Industry bodies call on govt to support IT sector

Australian IT industry bodies have called on the newly re-elected Coalition government to act to support Australia’s technology sector.

The Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) has urged the government to address Australia’s critical skill shortage.

AIIA CEO Ron Gauci welcomed the government’s $41.7 million commitment to develop two pilot Skills Organisations, aimed at developing digital technologies, cybersecurity and human services skills.

“AIIA members are delighted that the government also intends to establish the National Skills Commission to oversee the $2.8 billion annual investment in Vocational Education and Training (VET),” he said.

“Some of our members have successfully led and are rolling out alternative pathways to developing digital skills in school children. These programs have seen collaboration between government departments, universities, research institutes and industry. Our members would be delighted to share their success stories and learnings from these programs with the new government to further provide the crucial evidence of the success of these initiatives.”

Meanwhile, the body has called for the government to pass the amendments to the controversial Assistance and Access Act — also known as the Encryption Bill — that have been languishing in parliament since February. The AIIA wants the amendments to be passed within 100 days of the new government.

“It is time to execute these amendments so that industry and users of encrypted services have certainty over these new laws.”

Gauci also wants the government to address the industry’s concerns with the Sharing of Abhorrent Violent Material Bill, which was rushed through parliament in just two days in April in the wake of the Christchurch mosque shooting.

Meanwhile, StartupAUS, the peak advocacy group for Australia’s start-up sector, has welcomed the chance to work with the newly composed government to expand Australia’s capacity to develop a thriving technology sector.

“During the course of the election campaign, the Prime Minister made it clear that Australia’s continued economic prosperity was his principal focus. Over the next few years, that will rely more than ever on our ability to create high-value global companies. Australia’s tech sector will have a large part to play here, with breakthrough global businesses such as Atlassian, Canva, Wisetech Global, Airwallex, Envato, Deputy, Afterpay, CultureAmp and Aconex all demonstrating that multibillion-dollar Australian technology companies are a new reality,” StartupAUS CEO Alex McCauley said.

He welcomed the government’s election commitments to inject $60 million over three years to the Export Market Development Grant, as well as $3.4 million over four years towards encouraging more women in STEM careers.

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