BRISBANE, MONDAY, 10 NOVEMBER 2014
The Key Messages
The clear message from the CICTA G20 ICT Forum held in Brisbane on 10 November 2014 is that the opportunities for Queensland, Australia and world economies presented by digital technologies and the opening up of Government, Research and Industry data are immense. Indeed, credible estimates have identified the opportunity to add US$13 Trillion to G20 economies. Opening up data is essential and Governments are beginning to act but the full benefits will only be captured if we start planning now to ensure that in the years ahead we have an appropriately skilled workforce and the necessary supply of highly skilled ICT professionals.
The Forum, organised by CICTA - the umbrella body representing eleven ICT related associations in Queensland – heard from an outstanding list of presenters who outlined a compelling story of how the exponential growth in computing power and the rapid evolution of technology is dramatically changing our world and opening up new opportunities for growth and higher living standards. However the message from the speakers was that the technology tsunami is coming rapidly and we must act now if we are to fully capture the benefits of the digital age.
Call to Action
CICTA calls on the Queensland Government to join with CICTA and other key employer and education institutions to immediately form a Digital Economy Working Group. The priority task of the Working Group would be to initiate a study identifying likely trends and scenarios for employment in Queensland given the accelerating advancement of digital technologies. Based on these findings the Group would be asked to;
- identify the types of jobs at risk
- identify what new jobs will most likely be created
- identify the digital skills that will be most in demand
- identify new opportunities that will emerge from new digital technologies
- outline implications for Queensland’s education and training programmes, and forworkforce planning recommend key actions to be taken by Government, industry and the education sector.
Dr Tim Foresman, former NASA and UN Chief Environmental Scientist, and currently working at Queensland University of Technology as Professor and SIBA Chair in Spatial Information, highlighted the opportunities available through big data analysis, pointing out that 90% of the world’s data has been created in the last 2 years. And much of that is spatial data, which if used wisely, can open up opportunities to create truly digital cities which are more environmentally friendly and sustainable, have higher urban amenity, are more efficient and provide a higher livability for their citizens.
Dr Stefan Hajkowicz - Principal Scientist, Strategy and Foresight at CSIRO – highlighted how technology evolution is massively disrupting the workplace and changing the skills we need for the future. More tasks are being automated with the result that jobs are moving up the supply chain. This means fewer low skill jobs and more demand for jobs requiring high technology and ICT related proficiencies. Dr Hajkowicz highlighted a 2013 study by Dr Carl Benedikt Frey and Dr Michael Osborne at the University of Oxford which examined 702 professions in the United States and found that 47 per cent were at risk of being replaced with computerized systems. The implications of this for our future employment, workforce planning, and education and training programs are clear and immense.
Dr Simon Kaplan is Chair of Digital Careers, a national program focused on reducing the critical shortage of Australian ICT professionals by raising awareness and interest in ICT careers amongst primary and secondary school students, and their parents, teachers and career advisors. Dr Kaplan highlighted the dramatic fall in student enrolments in ICT courses across Australia in the last decade at a time when these are precisely the skills we now need to leverage the benefits of digital technologies.
Nicholas Gruen, CEO of Lateral Economics and co-Author of ‘Open for Business: How Open Data can help Achieve the G20 Growth Target” highlighted that more open policies around government and private sector information sharing will, conservatively, generate additional wealth of US$13 trillion in the next five years for G20 economies and around $16 billion for the Australian economy alone. This US$13 trillion figure represents more than half of the two per cent growth target the G20 set itself in February 2014.
Dr Nick Tate, Chair of CICTA, summarised early findings from the Council’s longitudinal survey of the Queensland ICT Industry’s sentiment and intentions. Early survey results indicate that there is an expectation of increased activity over the next year whilst highlighting some structural changes in the industry.
Mr Ray Stevens MP, Assistant Minister to the Queensland Premier on e-Government, highlighted the Queensland Government’s ongoing and strong commitment to an open data agenda. Mr Stevens noted that Queensland was generally regarded as being the most progressive and committed of any government in Australia on the issue of open data and the benefits it generates.
Dr Nick Tate
The Council of ICT Associations (CICTA) is a collaboration between 11 ICT Associations in Queensland. Members include, the Australian Computer Society (ACS), The Australian Information Industries Association (AIIA), Australian Institute of Project Management (AIPM), Australian Information Security Association (AISA), Gold Coast IT Forum, ISACA, Information Technology Contract & Recruitment Association (ITCRA), IT Queensland, itSMF, Spatial Industries Business Association (SIBA), Women in Technology (WIT).
Enquiries to Dr Nick Tate, Chair, CICTA – 0412 674010