AIIA slams politicians for ignoring ICT

Australian Information Industry Association CEO Sheryle Moon today slammed the pre-election campaigns from all the political parties for ignoring most ICT issues and only focusing on broadband.

Australian Information Industry Association CEO Sheryle Moon today slammed the pre-election campaigns from all the political parties for ignoring most ICT issues and only focusing on broadband.

The AIIA was planning on calculating a score based on surveying each of the parties ICT policies, what sectors of industry they affect and their overall relevance, in an effort to encourage voters to take an interest in ICT policy. The scorecard was intended to help voters determine which of the major parties had a better policy plan for ICT.

"We made a decision quite late that we wouldn't do the scorecard," said Moon, who added that campaigning from both sides had not included enough relevant discussion on the future of science and technology in Australia, and as a result it had become too difficult to split the difference between the two major parties on the issue to warrant its release.

Instead, the AIIA released a statement yesterday chastising both parties for failing to "present a viable vision for the future of the ICT industry in Australia".

"Neither party has talked about removing red tape for SMEs or recognised the critical role of the ICT industry in improving the state of the environment," said Moon in the statement.

Moon told ZDNet Australia that she "had expected far more discussion on a range of science and technology issues, particularly on innovation", and went on to say that campaigning on both sides had been far too narrowly focused on the broadband issue. She considers both parties' broadband plans as being viable, and supported a bipartisan approach to implementing the rollout of a national network.

Moon also praised Labor's "11th hour" commitment to innovation, but lamented that it had come so late in the campaign after Kim Carr, Shadow Minister for Industry, Innovation, Science and Research reiterated Labor's intentions on Wednesday afternoon to proceed with its Enterprise Connect program if elected to government.

According to the ALP Web site, the Enterprise Connect program aims to provide a network of innovation centres for regional businesses and several other initiatives aimed at remedying the skills shortage and boosting productivity.

"The first commentary on innovation has been one of Labor's better announcements," she said.

Moon regarded Labor's intention to halve HECS fees for maths and science students as one of the most important features of the program, saying "the industry has been very vocal on the need for this".

"The knowledge economy is crucial to Australia, that's how you overcome any depletion in the resources boom, it's ICT that could possibly extend the boom if anything," she said.

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