NSW responds to IT Industry Action Plan, outlines seven priorities

The NSW government has taken on the recommendations of the IT industry and revealed seven areas that it will focus on as key priorities for 2013.
Written by Michael Lee, Contributor

The NSW government has responded to the Digital Economy Industry Action Plan, outlining seven priorities that it will commit to in 2013 following the plan's recommendations.

Last year, NSW put together industry taskforces for a number of portfolios, including the Digital Economy. Championed as a key part of state ICT reforms, NSW Deputy Premier Andrew Stoner said during the most recent update to the state's progress earlier this year, that it will "outline actions for both industry and government that will encourage industry growth, development, and innovation".

The taskforce completed its report at the end of October, and the government has stated that it will tackle seven areas as key priorities for next year.

Two priorities include identifying actions to make it easier for businesses to bid for government contracts and partnering with the Committee for Sydney to form a global talent hub. The state is already making headway in regard to its procurement processes, with it mandating the use of ProcureIT contracts and promising to deliver short form versions for SMEs.

A third priority focuses on increasing free and reliable internet access. It will continue its rollout of Wi-Fi hotspots to 139 libraries across the state as part of the NSW State Library's Revitalising Regional Libraries program.

Libraries continue for the fourth important priority, with the state planning to execute its Digital Excellence program, which will digitise the State Library of NSW's collection. The state government hopes that this will improve access to resources to support study, research, and business activities.

To help provide valuable skilled human resources in the state, the government has made the NSW Strategy for Business Migration and Attracting International Students a priority. It hopes that this strategy will simplify the reform of visa processing, which will give the state greater industry skills and help promote investment.

Recognising that NSW isn't made up of just the well-trafficked coastal areas, it has committed to piloting "Smart Work Hubs." These are telecommuting and telepresence initiatives aimed at allowing employees to work from remote locations and to take advantage of the rollout of high speed broadband.

Lastly, it will re-dedicate itself to its Open Data initiative, to further provide access to government department and agency data that should be public.

These seven priorities will also be focused in concert with the announcement that the state will introduce a new initiative called Innovate NSW, aimed at supporting deeper collaboration to address the challenges and opportunities. The initiative will receive AU$6.7 million in funding over four years and provide targeted assistance that will "promote collaboration between innovative SMEs and global corporate partners to bring new products and services to market, and open up new high growth business and export opportunities," according to Stoner.

In particular, it will be able to provide AU$15,000 in matched financial assistance for about 250 firms.

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