Senator the Hon Stephen Conroy
Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy
Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on Digital Productivity
Australia to become a leading digital economy by 2020
Fully realising the benefits of the digital economy through the National Broadband Network (NBN) would help Australia become a world-leading digital economy by 2020, the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy, said today.
Launching the National Digital Economy Strategy (www.nbn.gov.au/the-vision/digitaleconomystrategy) at the CeBIT conference, Senator Conroy said the vision of the strategy would contribute to Australia’s productivity, maintain our global competitiveness and bring about tangible social wellbeing improvements – including better access to health and education services – no matter where people live in Australia.
“The Gillard Government is committed to ensuring Australian households and businesses, through the NBN, can receive the full benefits of the digital economy no matter where they live around Australia,” Senator Conroy said.
“Building the NBN is a key step towards that vision, which has as one of its goals Australia being among the top five OECD countries by 2020 when it comes to the percentage of households connected to broadband at home.”
Senator Conroy said the National Digital Economy Strategy identifies eight goals to help measure our progress towards this vision. They are that by 2020:
- Australia will rank in the top five Organisation for Economic Cooperation (OECD) countries in the portion of households that connect to broadband at home;
- Australia will rank in the top five OECD countries in the portion of businesses and not-for-profit organisations using online opportunities;
- The majority of Australian households, businesses and other organisations will have access to smart technology to better manage their energy use;
- 90 per cent of high priority consumers such as older Australians, mothers and babies and those with chronic diseases, can access individual electronic health records. In addition, by 2015, 495,000 telehealth consultations will have been delivered and by 2020, 25 per cent of all specialists will be delivering telehealth consultations to remote patients;
- Australian schools, TAFEs, universities and higher education institutions will have the connectivity to develop and collaborate on innovative educational services that will extend the opportunities for online learning;
- Australia will have at least doubled its level of teleworking so that at least 12 per cent of Australian employees may work away from the traditional workplace;
- Four of five Australians will choose to engage with the government through the Internet or other type of online service; and
- The gap between households and businesses in capital cities and those in regional areas will have narrowed significantly.
“By connecting to high-speed broadband, households will benefit through savings generated from time-saving activities such as telecommuting for remote work and study and improved access to business and job opportunities, health, education, social and government services,” Senator Conroy said.
“To accelerate progress towards this, I am pleased to announce the government will provide $23.8 million over three years for a Digital Communities initiative, a focus of which will be to establish a ‘Digital Hub’ in each of the 40 communities to first benefit from the NBN.”
Senator Conroy said the Gillard Government was also aiming to see Australia rank in the top five OECD countries by 2020 in the percentage of businesses and not-for-profit organisations using online opportunities to drive productivity improvements, expand their customer base and enable jobs growth.
“As part of the National Digital Economy Strategy, we will provide $12.4 million over three years to a Digital Enterprises initiative to assist small-to-medium enterprises and not-for-profit organisations (including local cultural organisations) in and around the 40 communities to first benefit from the NBN to help them fully utilise the broadband network.
“Maximising the benefit of the digital economy requires action by all levels of government, industry and the community as a whole.
“In a sign of such support I am very pleased to announce a team of Australians have agreed to partner with us as national champions of high-speed broadband.” (www.nbn.gov.au/media-centre/broadband-champions)
For more information visit www.nbn.gov.au
Date: 31 May 2011
Contact: Lyall Johnson 0408 258 457