Feds to dump $308M into IT

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The Federal government on Thursday announced it would dump $308 million into Australia’s IT industry as part of its $5.3 billion “Backing Australia’s Ability” package.

The Federal Government on Thursday announced it would dump $308 million into Australia's IT industry as part of its $5.3 billion 'Backing Australia's Ability' package.

The funding would include $251 million for National ICT Australia (NICTA) and $57 million for the ICT Incubators and Advanced Networks programs, outgoing Federal Minister for IT and the Arts Darryl Williams announced at Sydney's CeBIT trade show.

Williams said the funding would allow NICTA, the national ICT centre of excellence, to undertake ICT research on an international scale as well as looking at commercialisation of the research.

He claimed that the government's commitment would "ensure that Australia is able to harness emerging technologies and remain globally competitive".

NICTA chairman Neville Roach said the announcement of $251 million funding over five years had 'special significance to NICTA'.

"The focus on [ICT] research and long term commitments has not been sufficient… now we can help develop research based ICT."

He said a lot of research successes in Australia so far had been in the biomedical arena and asked "why hasn't ICT been able to do that?"

"Now we can keep going [adding to] the successes achieved to date to deliver long term strategic developments."

The ICT Incubators and Advanced Networks Programs -- which were formed four year ago -- were previously funded under the Building on IT Strengths (BITS) program. Williams said the incubators were developed to give emerging companies a kickstart and had created jobs.

Williams announced an additional $36 million over the next four years that would extend the program to 2007-08.

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