Saturday, 31 October 2020 22:21

AIIA congratulates Labor QLD Govt re-election victory, says 'much work to do' Featured


The Australian Information Industry Association, the AIIA, has congratulated the QLD Labor Party and Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk on their election victory, but says innovation and digital tech jobs are needed to move the QLD economy forward.

Now the election is over, the AIIA says "Queensland can move forward with confidence and plan for a State budget that takes the Queensland economy forward and boosts skills, innovation and jobs with digital technology at the centre".

The AIIA says it has "welcomed the recent Federal Budget’s $7 billion investment in ICT as a down payment to recognising the Prime Minister’s ambition to be a leading digital economy".

The AIIA also "encourages the Queensland Government to increase its investment in building digital capability to be more in line with what is happening elsewhere around the country".

AIIA CEO Ron Gauci said: “We look forward to working with the new Queensland Government to see how industry and government can partner for success. Additionally, we welcome the opportunity to help them frame the Queensland budget so that ICT investments deliver for the state and ensure the State doesn’t fall further behind.

“Queensland needs to go from it’s current position to a leader when it comes to the digitisation of government services.

"The COVID pandemic has demonstrated that digital technologies are core to effective government, citizen engagement and productivity. Innovation technology is driving investments across Australia in areas such as health, mining, defence and education,” Gauci added.

The AIIA notes that, earlier this month, it released its pre-election policy statement, making 21 recommendations and identifying key areas of focus for an incoming Queensland Government (PDF link below).

The AIIA notes that it "recommended areas of policy priorities and investment focus on government digitisation, SME and procurement reforms, attracting and building tech ecosystems, investing in the regions and boosting digital skills".

“The fact that regions in Queensland are coming last on digital inclusion index should concern all Queenslanders and we need a commitment to digitisation through a dedicated Minister that will drive a whole-of-government approach to technology, cyber strategy and execution - working closely with industry,” Gauci explained.

Summary of recommendations: (the full AIIA QLD pre-election statement is available here as a PDF link)

  1. That the Queensland Government adopt a target of 50% or less of its IT expenditure being spent on running existing operations by 2024.
  2. That the Government publish its whole-of-government and departmental BAU ICT spend, and its mix of spend between BAU and renewal/reinvestment (and supporting metrics) on an annual basis.

    The AIIA calls on an incoming Queensland Government to boost the local ICT industry and realise its 30% SME target by 2022 by:

  3. Creating a whole-of-government digital SME marketplace where all contracts under $500,000 must be procured and information on the marketplace performance is published twice a year.
  4. Publishing, on a quarterly basis, how many direct-sourced contracts have been procured up to the current $500,000 threshold.
  5. Confirming minimum total ICT spend of 30% on SMEs by 2022.
  6. Allocating 2% of ICT budgets towards funding proof of concepts and innovative solutions from the local SME market.
  7. As part of the above, twice a year, holding ICT SME “pitch days” involving leading agency buyers including but not limited to health, education and emergency services representatives.
  8. The Queensland Government adopt a target of developing regional ICT to grow faster than the national average, measured against the digital inclusion index, to recover lost ground, particularly in North and North West Queensland. Meaningful, time based measurable quotas are required for successful and sustainable strategy execution.
  9. AIIA would welcome the opportunity to work with the Queensland Government to develop a framework to achieve the above policy goal.
  10. A QLD Consortium be established to develop an ICT ecosystem – a PPP involving attraction of cornerstone corporate actors, in conjunction with government, allied to skills building and research in collaboration with Universities and TAFEs, and the building out of the SME locally based players to ensure the supply chain leaves as much money in Queensland as is possible, developing capability that services Australia and the globe.
  11. AIIA would welcome the opportunity to work with the Queensland Government to develop a framework to achieve the above policy goal.
  12. Government to develop incentives to attract “cornerstone” ICT ecosystem head offices in order to create pull and clustering. Governments around the country and around the world have been utilising such incentives to motivate growth. Favourable payroll taxes, free / reduced land and buildings costs, per head subsidies for generating employment and the multiplier effect of that employment are just some of the ways investment could be targeted to bring the right kind of large corporate actors to all parts of Queensland around which to build a holistically planned ecosystem. These incentives should be coupled with clearly defined outcomes targeted at generating the benefits outlined for local industry and the local economy.
  13. AIIA would welcome the opportunity to work with the Queensland Government to develop a framework to achieve the above policy goal.
  14. Create a new dedicated Digital Minister with the focus, portfolio and budget to drive the policy recommendations here and for the government.
  15. Formalise the creation of Service QLD Policy, framework and funding model to increase agencies adoption and support the acceleration of delivery of digital services for QLD citizens.
  16. Replicate the funding model used by NSW, and created 10 years ago which has made NSW a leader in citizen services delivery. This requires significant long term thinking that is focused on creating outcomes for citizens.
  17. Funding should be allocated to schools for training both students and teachers on digital skills, with a particular focus on underprivileged institutions and indigenous communities.
  18. Increase funding to support and accelerate the current Qld Government funded trials for micro credentialing programs and expand to include QLD government technology workers.
  19. Work with AIIA to develop an industry partnership to create the AIIA Digital Skills Guild. Through our membership ,the AIIA will work with key service providers (our members) to create a program of curriculum and training in the latest technologies at no cost for government employees. A number of large ICT organisations have already committed to providing material to support this initiative.
  20. Target to train 50% of the IT workforce in QLD Government with basic new skills by 2022 through the AIIA Digital Skills Guild.
  21. Target to offer training to 100% of non-IT workforce staff interested in reskilling and enable new career pathways through the Digital Skills Guild by 2022. 

Note, the AIIA also points to its recently released a white paper titled ‘Building Australia’s Digital Future in a Post-COVID World’, (PDF link) which "emphasised the need to look beyond traditional infrastructure investment by government with more focus on technology infrastructure".

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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