Wednesday, 30 September 2020 05:36

Labor says Morrison always there for photo ops, never for follow-ups Featured

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Tim Watts: "Initiatives from the Cyber Security Strategy have been announced as new funding four times in just over a year." Tim Watts: "Initiatives from the Cyber Security Strategy have been announced as new funding four times in just over a year." Courtesy Tim Watts' website

The Australian Labor Party has poured scorn on the digital business announcement made by Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Tuesday, claiming that the PM was "there for the media drop, the photo op, the re-packaged media drop, and the re-announcement, but never there for the follow-up".

Included in the announcement was mention of the government's allocation of $1.67 billion for the 2020 Cyber Security Strategy and investments in online safety.

In a statement, Tim Watts, the shadow assistant minister for communications and cyber security, said the announcement was "nothing more than an attempt by the Morrison Government to hoodwink the Australian people into thinking it is delivering on cyber security".

Watts claimed that 90% of the funding announced on Tuesday was recycled announcements.

"Initiatives from the Cyber Security Strategy have been announced as new funding four times in just over a year," he said.

"The Cleaner Pipes initiative alone has been announced once a month for the last four months.

"It was first announced in June, then again in July as part of the 2020 Force Structure Plan, a third time in August as part of the 2020 Cyber Security Strategy and today (Tuesday) it’s part of the Digital Business Plan."

Watts described Morrison’s approach to cyber security as one in which there was no dedicated minister to look after the space, and one where old initiatives were repackaged as new spending, "and hope no one notices you haven’t delivered".

The mobile industry lobby group, the Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association, welcomed another part of Morrison's announcement, a $30 million investment for exploring 5G innovation opportunities.

AMTA chief executive Chris Althaus labelled the promised investment as " a key pathway to COVID recovery and beyond".

"5G will enable substantial opportunities for innovation and productivity through enhanced connectivity that will greatly benefit Australian consumers, businesses, and industries," he said ion a statement.

"The mobile telecommunications industry is pleased to see the proactive approach taken by the government, which targets accelerating the digital transformation of Australian businesses through 5G, with clear flow-on impacts for productivity, growth and creating jobs.

"This investment, which includes the establishment of the Australian 5G Innovation Initiative to help promote 5G in key industry sectors such as agriculture, mining, logistics and manufacturing, is an important addition to Australia's economic recovery strategy.

"Mobile telecommunications are key enabling technologies that support productivity and connectivity across most industries and will play a central role in helping businesses adjust to the new realities of life during our recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and thereafter."

Althaus was also pleased with the announcement about investment in further refinements to Australia's spectrum management and planning framework to allow more efficient spectrum allocation and simplify the digital spectrum licence system.

"Australia was recently recognised as the global leader in mobile after being named the number one nation in the world by the GSMA Mobile Connectivity Index for the sixth consecutive year, so we are well positioned and can be confident in our future as we face the challenges of a COVID-19 recovery with the benefit of a world-leading mobile sector," he said.

"AMTA now looks forward to working with the government on the details of this 5G initiative."


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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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