Labor‘s $30M technology funding cut will not affect the industry

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Labor‘s $30M technology funding cut will not affect the industry

The Labor government has taken a blade to some of the previous government's pre-election promises for the 2007-08 fiscal year, including $30 million from the federal technology budget.

Federal Minister for Finance and Deregulation, Senator Lindsay Tanner told the National Press Club in Canberra that Labor inherited a problem from the former Liberal Government.

“It isn’t to do with tax cuts. It's government spending that is growing at an unsustainable rate," said Senator Tanner.

Labor will axe $642.9 million worth of funding promised by the former government, affecting environmental, cultural, communications and technology initiatives.

Cuts to technology related spending, include marketing dollars for the controversial NetAlert program, amount to $30 million.

According to Tanner $6.4 million will be slashed from the NetAlert program's education, $700,000 and advertising $5.7 million budget. The initial cost of NetAlert, announced by the Coalition government in August last year, was $187 million. While $84 million was spent on filtering technology, $22 million was allocated to an awareness scheme to inform parents.

Other IT cuts include $6.7 million from the Telecommunications Improvement and Procurement project, and 5 million each from the Innovation Ambassador program and the establishment of the APAC Network for Energy Technology program.

Phillip Allen, research manager, vertical markets at IDC Australia said broadly the investment in technology by the Australian government remains robust.

Allen told iTnews, in 2008, IDC forecasts that the total Government spending will be more than $6 billion on ICT.

“While these [federal funding] cuts are not going to dramatically affect the IT industry. Security is important however I don't think that the spending cuts we are talking about are going to have a huge impact,” said Allen.

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