Aust govt sets 12% teleworking target

Summary:The Australian government has set a goal to get 12 percent of public servants working from home at least one day per week by 2020.

The Australian government wants 12 percent of public servants to work from home one day per week by 2020.

Communications Minister Stephen Conroy said that the government wants to increase the number of staff from the Australian Public Service using the internet to work from home, known as teleworking, from 6 per cent to 12 per cent within eight years.

A paper by consultant Deloitte to be released today suggests that teleworking will boost gross domestic product (GDP) by AU$3.2 billion per year by 2020-21, which is the equivalent of 25,000 full-time jobs.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard will announce the government's target via a video link from Parliament House into the Telework Congress at Melbourne University this morning.

"What we are finding from the survey and the studies that we have been doing is that more people are prepared to come back into the workforce," Conroy told ABC Radio on Monday.

"More people, who aren't able to participate in the workforce at the moment, would be able to stay in the workforce if they were able to work from home."

Conroy said that the 12 per cent target is not overly ambitious, as the United States is already at that level.

He said that the program should cost little to implement across the public service.

The minister said that the National Broadband Network (NBN) would underpin the reliability and the consistency of internet performance required for the program.

The government is rolling out high-speed broadband optic fibre cable to 93 percent of homes, schools and businesses across Australia by 2021, with the remaining 7 percent to be provided by fixed-wireless and satellite technologies.

Earlier this year, the federal government announced that it would look at expanding the use of Cisco TelePresence units across Australia, because it is due to hit "capacity constraint" due to the popularity of the units by government departments and agencies using the units for meetings to cut down on travel spending.

Josh Taylor contributed to this article.

Topics: Telework, Government, Government : AU

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