Tuesday, September 22, 2015

First Digital Australian PM

I agree with Al Blake that "Australia's new PM 'gets IT'" (Online Opinion, 16 September 2015). On Monday night I was at an event on digital copyright at Parliament House. Mr. Turnbull was not there (he was busy getting elected nearby), but would have been at home in this forum.

The Digital Transformation Office (DTO) is an interesting experiment, but it is a bit early to see how it goes. My preference would have been for DTO to be in the Department of Finance which has more experience working with other departments on practical implementation of IT.

The current government's mixed-mode NBN is a clever political approach, as the mix of technologies used for delivery can be changed depending on how well they work, what they cost and what other priorities there are.

Al Blake's call for the ICT industry to rise to the challenge is timely. But to deliver a "connected, technologically literate and effective Australia" we need other industries involved, key to this being the education industry and the creative industries. Otherwise all the NBN will doing is acting as a virtual mega-container ship: importing overseas content and services, then
sending ship-loads of cash overseas to pay for the imports.

Service industry jobs are now open to on-line competition from overseas, not only accountants and lawyers, but also university lecturers (and soon school teachers). The solution is not to lower a virtual trade barrier, but to skill up our workforce, so they can compete on-line.

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