Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Some Future Directions for the Australian Digital Economy

The Australian Government has invited input for a Digital Economy Future Directions Paper. It lists six consultation topics. Here are my recommendations for them:
  1. Open Access to Public Sector Information: The Australian Government should adopt the US Government's policy of open access to Public Sector Information (PSI). This can be implemented using the Australian Creative Commons licence. The Commonwealth Library Deposit and Free Issue Schemes (LDS) should be changed to encourage electronic distribution, with the paper option retained for the few items where this is not suitable.
  2. Digital confidence: The Australian Government should continue to follow European practice with use of the OECD privacy principles.
  3. Developing Australia’s knowledge and skills base: The Australian and State governments should increase funding for Education Network Australia (edna) and the Australian Flexible Learning Framework encourage further such joint state/federal initiatives. The distinction between secondary, vocational and the higher education sectors for funding of the development of e-learning content, tools and training should be removed. A condition of public funding for the development of tools and courses should be free open access. The federal government's Digital Education Revolution, should incorporate e-learning and e-literacy.
  4. Ensuring Australia’s regulatory framework enables the digital economy: Australian should support international copyright principles and avoid making exceptions to support US publishing interests. As Professor Geoff Walsham argues it is a "Non-Flat World" and Australia can benefit from being part of a wider culturally heterogeneous environment.
  5. Digital economy and the environment: The Australian Government should adopt a realistic CO2 emissions target of 25% to 50% reduction by 2020, in accordance with the Garnaut Report. The Australian government should implement the recommendations of the Personal Computer and Monitors Energy Efficiency Strategy prepared for the Environment Department. The Australian Government should fund its senior ICT staff to undertake the ACS Green ICT course, or equivalent training in ICT energy reduction.
  6. Measuring the digital economy and its Impacts: The Australian Government should restore previously cut funding to the Australian Bureau of Statistics to allow the suspended ICT statistics to be again collected.

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