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ACS Week in Review 17 May 2013

Friday, 17 May 2013

Federal Budget 2013 – A skilled professional ICT workforce for Australia
The 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.
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.

ACS ACARA submission May 2013
There is an apparent disconnect between the way ICT is taught at High School and in undergraduate courses at University.  ICT has a high rate of university course attrition compared to other disciplines, with more than a third of students explaining that they do not understand course concepts and/or they had insufficient background knowledge.

The ACS is very concerned that the curriculum does not appear to adequately anticipate tertiary education – something the ACS believes should be one of the key goals of the curriculum.  More could be done in the draft to better define F-11/12 pathways.  The ACS believes that Year 11 and 12 studies in computing need to be developed and built on this foundation, to enable students to explore in depth some of the more prominent ICT sub-disciplines, with an unashamed focus on preparation for tertiary study and a career in the ICT field which is anecdotally the norm for students selecting elective subjects in most other disciplines.

Budget 2013: Heavy on 'showcasing', light on strategy
The 2013 Federal Budget lacks an overarching strategy for IT and the digital economy, with few of the many projects flagged likely to significantly benefit the sector, according to the IT industry.

Budget 2013: Tech giants face new tax laws
The Government has delivered on its promise to crack down on the complex tax structures of multinational technology giants operating in Australia, revealing in budget papers plans to improve compliance in an effort to deliver a revenue gain of $1.5 billion. 

Tech industry sees lack of foresight in Federal Budget
Chief executives and analysts from the technology industry are relieved the budget doesn’t cancel big government IT projects but criticised what they said was a lack of planning for the end of the mining boom.

Despite previously announced innovation precincts and an innovation investment fund being flagged again, technology-industry leaders said the budget as a missed opportunity to promote a future digital economy.

Budget 2013: CSC applauds healthcare investments
Solutions and services provider, CSC has welcomed the Federal Government's Budget announcement regarding health and technology.

CSC general manager for global healthcare, Lisa Pettigrew, said, in a statement, that CSC, In particular, applauded the ongoing investment in the NBN which was crucial to Australia's future in the digital economy and underpinned the future of eHealth for Australian consumers.

Turnbull attacks NBN budget funding cuts
Communications Minister Stephen Conroy has hit back at criticism over reduced funding for the national broadband network over the next three years, accusing his opposition counterpart Malcolm Turnbull of being deliberately misleading.

Despite the opposition’s plans to scale back the project significantly if elected in September, Mr Turnbull criticised budget cuts to government’s equity funding for the NBN, totalling $3.5 billion by 2016.

Google supports technology curriculum reform
Google has shown its support for the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority’s proposed reforms in technology education for high school students.

The Australian Computer Society (ACS) has also said it would like to see the national curriculum in technology extend mandatory study to Year 10.

New petition calls for computer-programming in primary schools
The National Computer Science School has encouraged entrepreneurs and “technology creators” to sign a petition supporting the introduction of computer-programming in Australian schools.

Visa fees to double for 457 applicants
Fees charged to foreign workers applying for a 457 visa will be more than doubled to $900, raking almost $200 million into Treasury coffers over four years.

The Fair Work Ombudsman's budget will also be increased by $3.4m to enforce employer compliance with 457 visa conditions, following a vocal union campaign.