Information Paper released ahead of Digital Economy Strategy – October 2017

Filed under: Politics, Australian Politics, Trade and industry, Industry Policy,

The Australian Government will develop a new Digital Economy Strategy, described by the Industry Minister Arthur Sinodinos as “a forward-looking plan to maximise the potential of digital technology to improve the nation’s productivity and competitiveness, while minimising its negative effects”.

The strategy is expected to be made public about the middle of next year.

The Industry Department has published an information paper to encourage public participation in the consultation process leading to preparation of the strategy.

In an introduction prepared before he began extended leave, Senator Sinodinos said: “The strategy will focus on ways governments, businesses and the community can adjust to seize the benefits of digital transformation - including improving access to new and emerging technologies and digital infrastructure to grow Australian industry and jobs.

“The digital economy and the technologies that underpin it are fundamental for Australia’s success - they create opportunities for our communities and our businesses, drive competitiveness and productivity, and strengthen connectivity across our broad country.

“Most of us participate in the digital economy from the moment we wake up in the morning. We check our emails and social media accounts, top up our bus pass online and pay our bills using banking apps while drinking our first coffee of the day.

“Digital technologies also allow our businesses to work smarter, save time and access new customers, markets and information. Digitally advanced businesses are more innovative and more likely to be growing revenue and creating jobs.

“Australia already has areas of competitive strength, such as energy resources and medical and mining related technologies.

“We have significant opportunities in emerging sectors like FinTech and precision agriculture.

“If we move quickly to get in front of our competitors, build on these strengths and become a world leader in digital innovation, McKinsey has predicted we could boost the Australian economy by $140 billion to $250 billion over the next eight years.

“Like the previous three industrial revolutions, technological advancement creates challenges for humanity - challenges that cannot be solved by science alone.

“The shift we are undergoing, as every sector becomes data-driven, is similar in scale to the social and economic shift that took place when the world moved from being agriculture-centric to manufacturing-centric.

“Australian industries are experiencing increased productivity due to automation, use of sensors, data analytics, and the Internet of Things.

“We need to make sure all Australians can take the journey. Our access to broadband has improved but there is still a gap in ability, basic skills, and attitudes to technology, with low income households, people aged over 65, and people with disability more likely to be digitally excluded.

“For these people, the benefits of being connected can seem out of reach.

“We know government doesn’t have all the answers. That’s why we have committed to developing the strategy in an open and inclusive way.

“We will be working with experts within and outside of government, and engaging with the community.

“This paper marks the start of that conversation and I’m asking for your ideas to help develop the strategy. By planning ahead, we are not only responding to change, but we are seeking to create change - change that is to our benefit.”

Further Reading