The Federal government's report on the development of the local ICT industry has been slammed by the opposition which claimed it does nothing to identify where Australia might have strategic or competitive advantages.
Senator Kate Lundy said Senator Richard Alston's ICT policy framework report Enabling Australia's Future, "is an eloquent expression of his performance in the IT portfolio, a litany of excuses for failure and attempts to avoid responsibility and not a single original idea for creating or supporting industry."
Lundy said the report is a 60-odd page long apology for the failure of the minister and his government. "From its title page, it parrots the scorched-earth Treasury line that the ballooning ICT deficit does not matter and harps on about "enabling" other industries," she said.
She continued: "Having presided over the collapse of the ICT industries in Australia and our relegation to a backwater in global IT industry planning, Alston says we should be happy just to use ICT products, and that we don't need to be bothered making them.
"He is ignoring the fact that the route to creating high-skill, high-wage jobs for future generations is through developing IT, not just using it."
Lundy then called for the Minister's resignation. "If that is truly the Minister's opinion of the place of ICT in a modern knowledge economy, he should resign."
"Senator Alston's failed Framework for the Future report is a pathetic excuse for a policy vision and a waste of time for industry, for government and for future generations," Lundy said.
Meanwhile, the government said it would closely examine the steering committee's report in the coming weeks and consider the implications for ICT policy development. The report makes recommendations on issues ranging from innovation to advanced networks and would provide a platform for the development of the local ICT industry over the next five to ten years, Alston said.
Further progress depends on building on these foundations and maintaining and strengthening policy setting with a long-term focus, he said. "This is the responsibility of all key players in the ICT sector, not just governments. A key finding of the report is that the future of the ICT sector is a shared responsibility."