Aust businesses reap online rewards

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Australian companies have more than doubled e-business-related earnings to $24.3 billion in the 2002-03 financial year, Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) figures have claimed.

A statement released by the Australian Department for Communications, IT and the Arts (DCITA) said that ABS figures suggested Australian business activity conducted via the internet “jumped dramatically” to $24.3 billion in the last financial year. Such earnings for the 2001-02 financial year totalled $11.3 billion.

Some 13 percent of Australian businesses received orders over the internet last year, up from 6 percent in 2001-02, DCITA said, and more of them were using broadband.

“Between June 2002 and June 2003 the proportion of businesses accessing the internet using Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) services rose from 7 percent to 18 percent. At the same there was a decrease in dial-up modem use from 86 percent to 76 percent,” DCITA said.
The Australian government has committed $142.8 million to its national strategy to increase broadband availability.

DCITA said that ABS statistics released last week suggested that Australian agriculture, for example, was an “advanced user” of new technology.

“Of 2.1 million US farms, only 58 percent had computer access in June 2003 compared with 62 percent of Australian farms in June 2002,” it said.

The department added that ABS figures had also shown that 89 percent of Australian businesses had adopted some form of IT security measure, usually anti-virus software.

“E-government is also attracting increased business interest. In June 2003, 71 percent of online businesses accessed some form of e-government service. This is an increase from 57 percent a year earlier,” DCITA said.

E-payments were the most popular e-government transaction, with 21 percent of businesses filing their tax returns online and 6 percent using the internet to apply for licences or permits of various kinds.


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