With a federal election looming, the Howard government has released a "strategic vision" for the future of Australia's information economy which it claims will provide the "policy platform needed to address new challenges to Australia's position as a leading information economy".
The 50-page report, entitled "Australia's Strategic Framework for the Information Economy 2004-06: Opportunities and Challenges for the Information Age" is designed to "guide government agencies" in the promotion and management of the global information economy, according to the Australian government Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts (DCITA), the body responsible for production of the report.
Following the report's release yesterday DCITA stated it was a "vision that brings together the resources of all sectors of the economy".
The report states that the governments "broad objectives" for the information economy are:
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢,Â¬Ã‚Â¢ to promote social cohesion by ensuring that particular sectors, groups of Australians and regions are not left behind
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢,Â¬Ã‚Â¢ to secure Australia's information economy against external and internal threats, and to promote Australia's interests in the emerging global information economy
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢,Â¬Ã‚Â¢to remove barriers to information economy development
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢,Â¬Ã‚Â¢to make government an exemplar in the use of ICT to improve citizen engagement, efficiency, and effectiveness of service delivery.
According to the report the objectives translate into four strategic priorities with associated implementation plans.
The first of the objectives is to ensure that "all Australians have the capabilities, networks and tools to participate in the benefits of the information economy", according to the report. It states that the objective can be implemented by improving access to network facilities for regional, Indigenous, older and disabled Australian and strengthening collaboration between industry sectors.
The report also states that the government wants to ensure "security and interoperability of Australia's information infrastructure, and support confidence in digital services". The report states that this objective will be pursued by facilitating private and public partnerships within the industry, promoting greater security and interoperability within the ICT sector and the establishment of a national framework for electronic authentication.
The government also will strive to develop "Australia's innovation system as a platform for productivity growth and industry transformation" according to the report, which states "improved access to education" and the development of research networks will help to achieve this goal.
The fourth governmental objective stated in the report was to raise productivity, collaboration, and accessibility in the in the public sector through "effective use of information, knowledge and ICT".
The Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, Daryl Williams, said in a statement following the release that "the new Strategic Framework builds on Australia's world-leading position in the uptake of e-Government" and ensures that "the ongoing and effective delivery of public sector services and information across all tiers of government".