Canberra, Wednesday 15 May 2013: The peak professional body for the Information Communications Technology (ICT) sector, the Australian Computer Society (ACS), welcomed elements of the 2013 Federal Budget in supporting Australia’s need for a skilled professional ICT workforce to drive economic growth.
ACS Chief Executive, Mr Alan Patterson, said the $350 million earmarked for the ‘Innovation Investment Fund’ to help start-ups was a good recognition of the increasing importance of the digital economy.
Mr Patterson also welcomed the $45m directed to a new Skills Connect Fund to provide industry with a single point of access for skills and workforce development support.
“The Skills Connect Fund recognises the concerns of business that Australia has ongoing ICT skills gaps. The ACS will continue to work with governments, industry and educators to define and address these issues,” Mr Patterson said.
Mr Patterson also said the sector would welcome the extension of the Enterprise Connect program which provides a range of operational advice to businesses, including ICT optimisation.
“The ACS has campaigned on behalf of Small to Medium Enterprises (SME) to help them access greater support to meet the challenges of our digital economy. Extending the eligibility for Enterprise Connect assistance for the manufacturing sector is encouraging given the continuing high dollar, intense global competition in this sector and seismic structural shifts in our economy brought on by our digital age,” said Mr Patterson.
In other areas of the budget Mr Patterson noted ACS members would have liked to have seen a stronger commitment to the digital training needs of SME’s ($12.9m) and Seniors ($9.9m over four years) as confidence, trust and security issues are increasing with ICT’s ubiquity in our economy and society.
“The ICT sector remains concerned that more needs to be done to address the barriers to women and older workers in accessing training (and therefore employment). ACS also has concerns about plans to cap education expenses for professional development. The ACS will continue to highlight the impacts on ACS members and the broader ICT sector to the government,” Mr Patterson said.
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About the Australian Computer Society
The Australian Computer Society (ACS) is the professional association for Australia's Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector. Over 20,000 ACS members work in business, education, government and the community. The Society exists to create the environment and provide the opportunities for members and partners to succeed. The ACS strives for ICT to be recognised as a driver of innovation in our society, relevant across all sectors, and to promote the formulation of effective policies on ICT and related matters. Visit www.acs.org.au for more information.