Alston blows own trumpet

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Australia leads the world in productivity gains from information and communications technology (ICT) over the last decade, according to Communications Minister Richard Alston.

Citing two reports to the National Office of the Information Economy (NOIE), Alston said case studies showed Australian industries were using ICT to transform processes and business practices, to generate world's best practice in ICT-led productivity growth.

A report, by analyst firm Ovum for the National Office for the Information Economy (NOIE), predicts that almost half of forecast growth in gross domestic product (GDP) in 2002 could be attributed to ICT industries. The report, 'Productivity and Organisational Transformation: Optimising Investment in ICT', estimates a 25 percent increase in the contribution of ICT to productivity increases in all industries, from 1.7 to 2.11 per cent, would increase Australia's GDP by $2.68 billion - while a 50 percent increase would result in $5.31 billion GDP increase.

A statement from Alston's department said this was consistent with recent OECD findings showing that ICT contributed, on average, one-quarter of Australia's GDP growth between 1995 and 2001. Alston claims the report shows “our use of ICT is not just intensive, but effective”. Further, if more organisations were to apply the lessons from the case studies of Australian industries using ICT to transform processes and business practices - outlined in the Ovum report - “we could expect a noticeable increase in productivity growth”.

Senator Alston said the government has put in place a policy framework, including innovation initiatives, venture capital reforms to help ensure Australia capitalises on our ICT strengths.

Alston said the federal governmentis also playing a major role in refocusing its own operations to obtain maximum advantage from ICT, with a resultant improvement in service delivery and productivity across many areas of government in Australia.

Alston released a report by DMR Consulting – the E-government Benefits Study – which found that 46 percent of individuals and more than 57 percent of businesses make use of e-government services. DMR Consulting expects demand for these services to increase by more than 30 percent per annum.

The senator released the reports to a Committee for the Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) function in Sydney.

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