Victoria launches $85m bid for IT industry

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Victoria launches $85m bid for IT industry

Promises new jobs and 'plug and play' links with Silicon Valley.

The Victorian Government has promised to generate more than 1000 new information technology jobs a year under a four-year, $85 million plan to promote ICT in the state.

In a document detailing the plan today, the State Government boasted of 145,000 ICT workers in various sectors, accounting for 29 percent of national ICT employment.

Victoria’s ICT sector employed 87,000 people and generated $29 billion in revenue a year, the report revealed (pdf).

According to Victorian Technology Minister Gordon Rich-Phillips, the state recognised the “key role” of ICT in its economy and the opportunities generated by “ICT-enabled innovation”.

In order to maintain “the highest share of higher education ICT students in Australia”, the Victorian Government pledged $2 million to "skills initiatives” with educational institutions and industry.

It also established an $11 million Digital Futures Fund to support the development and application of technology in other sectors.

By 2015, the State Government expected at least two Victorian ICT projects to have delivered solutions to “major business, community or government challenges”.

It also hoped to facilitate $150 million a year of ICT investment and $150 million a year of ICT exports through government activities including support for the Melbourne Australian Pavilion at Silicon Valley’s Plug and Play Tech Center.

The Victorian Coalition Government promised to “advocate the expedient upgrade of Victoria’s broadband capacity”, including the National Broadband Network.

It aimed to have more than a million households and businesses in the state take up a high capacity broadband service by 2015.

An $18 million Broadband Enabled Innovation Program would provide funding for projects that used broadband to improve productivity in business, government and the community.

Targets were set based on advice from the state’s Department of Business and Innovation and what the Government expected to be able to achieve.

The plan was part of a three-pronged, $150 million approach to driving innovation in ICT, biotechnology and smaller technologies.

Citing research from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the report said technology convergence was “the way of the future”, and required cross-pollination of approaches from fields like engineering, physical sciences and life sciences.

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