Thursday, 07 February 2019 10:16

AIIA calls on govt to announce tech incentives in budget

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Ron Gauci: "There is currently a significant shortfall of available digital skills and expertise in the Australian workforce." Ron Gauci: "There is currently a significant shortfall of available digital skills and expertise in the Australian workforce." Supplied

The Australian Information Industry Association has urged the Coalition to boost digital skills, innovation and government IT procurement in this year's Federal Budget.

The call was made in the organisation's pre-budget submission made on 1 February.

AIIA chief executive Ron Gauci said: “Fostering the skills needed for the future with the right policies, regulatory framework and funding is critical to Australia’s economic growth and productivity.

“There is currently a significant shortfall of available digital skills and expertise in the Australian workforce.

"The AIIA is committed to ensuring that the right digital skills are identified, developed and funded with the support of government policies and legislation.”

Recommendations for addressing the digital skills shortage in Australia include:

  • Developing and implementing a national education campaign that provides immediate and ongoing information to students, teachers, parents and career advisers to increase awareness about flexible learning options and multiple career paths for relevant and rewarding digital careers.
  • Investing in the timely development and provision of nationally accredited Vocational Education and Training qualifications to respond to localised and/or unique industry demands to meet critical digital skill shortages.

Recommendations for fostering digital innovation and commercialisation include:

  • Establishing an advisory and oversight body constituted by representatives from industry, research institutions and government. Responsibilities would be to drive a National Innovation Agenda – including R&D activities - through good governance, established objectives and clear performance indicators.
  • Encouraging the digital industry to undertake their R&D activities in Australia through increased grants and internationally competitive tax incentives.

Recommendations for improving Digital Sourcing by Australian Government include:

  • Simplifying and improving transparency and consistency in digital sourcing processes and practices across government agencies in partnership with industry and research institutes. This will deliver more efficient outcomes for both industry sellers and government agency buyers.
  • Continuing with a program for improving government digital sourcing processes under an advisory body constituted by senior executives from government agencies and industry.

“Australian innovation stems from research and development (R&D), and risk taking,” said Gauci. “This leads to commercialisation of products and services, providing attractive returns on investments and has a positive flow-on effect on skills development and job creation. That’s why it’s essential that we encourage innovation through an R&D tax incentive.

“Currently the national opportunity to foster business entrepreneurship and innovation in government services is being hampered by complex and risk averse procurement processes.

“The AIIA would like to see the establishment of an advisory body to improve the digital sourcing capability and digital literacy of the Australian Public Service in partnership with industry and research institutions.”

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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