MEDIA RELEASE- ACS identifies priorities for a stronger NSW start-up economy
SYDNEY, 17 March 2015: The ACS NSW Branch is calling on political parties in the 2015 NSW State Election to increase their focus on the start-up economy. The ACS urges the next NSW Government to aspire to make NSW the leading start-up ecosystem in Australia, and has identified four priority areas in support of this, including increased support for IT students, a dedicated Digital Economy Ministry, and more focus on digital skills and digital literacy.
ACS NSW Branch Chair Richard Baecher said: "New South Wales is the engine room of the services economy in Australia, and the next NSW Government needs to make sure businesses of any size receive adequate support in their drive towards digital success. We believe that digital literacy and education are critical for the future of the state, but they have barely been mentioned in the campaign so far. We are calling on the leaders to lead, and tell the people of NSW how they will make this state the leading start-up economy in Australia.'
The ACS NSW policy statement recommends focusing on four key priorities, listed below.
1 The Startup Sector
With almost two in three Australian startups being based in NSW there is a potential $50 billion windfall should greater support be provided to startups. Research shows that a key factor in achieving this will be a greater focus on IT in our education system. The ACS is calling upon the next NSW Government to increase support and encouragement for NSW students to pursue computing science and related IT qualifications.
2 Digital Economy Ministry & Digital Ministerial Advisory Council
To help build a world-leading digital economy, ACS urges an incoming NSW
Government to establish a dedicated Digital Economy Ministry headed by a Cabinet Minister. Further, to assist that Minister in this role, the Government should establish a Digital Ministerial Advisory Council. The Council would provide the Minister with access to the relevant expertise, experience and insights from stakeholders in the ICT eco-system.
3 Digital Skills
To help ensure NSW has an adequate supply of the skilled ICT professionals, the next NSW Government needs to ensure there is a far stronger emphasis on learning and applying digital technologies in the education system. This will involve working closely with the school, VET and tertiary sectors and updating our education curricula to deliver a pipeline of skilled IT graduates who will be able to build the digital economy.
4 Digital Literacy of Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) & Micro Businesses
SMEs, including the important and growing micro business sector, represent the vast majority of businesses in the State economy. Driving higher economic growth therefore requires Governments to create an environment where these businesses can thrive. ACS proposes a practical program which works with individual businesses to benchmark their digital literacy and identify their specific areas of weakness and then, based on the benchmarking results, help build relationships between the businesses and relevant "best in breed" ICT suppliers and ICT professionals.
About the Australian Computer Society (ACS)
ACS is Australia's peak body for ICT professionals with around 22,000 members nationally, and 7,000 members in NSW. A core function of the ACS is the assessment and accreditation of its members as Certified Technologists or Certified
Professionals. ACS also works with organisations on their workforce development strategies and conducts research-based advocacy on behalf of members on public policy issues.
For more information about the ACS, please see www.acs.org.au.
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