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Monday, 02 September 2013 12:37

Coalition launches ICT policy Featured

Opposition communications spokesperson Malcolm Turnbull Opposition communications spokesperson Malcolm Turnbull

The Coalition today released its national ICT plan, ahead of the election it is widely expected to win on 7 September.

Shadow communications minister Malcolm Turnbull and shadow finance minister Andrew Robb joined forces in Melbourne to launch the policy for e-government and the digital economy, which they described was part of an "aggressive reform agenda."

“This has been a passion of mine for a very long time - it’s not just a question of saving money,” Turnbull said at a press conference at the York Butter Factory.

“It is about including each of the state and federal governments with the private sector – a much more 'open-minded ... and receptive to new ideas' approach."

Turnbull and Robb said the Coalition will aim to improve transparency around government technology expenditure, encourage agencies to use cloud services and providing Australians with a free digital mailbox to receive communication from all levels of government.

The Coalition also said it will create a US-style online dashboard that enables taxpayers taxpayers can assess the performance and progress of major projects, after years of hounding the Labor government for a cost/benefit analysis of its NBN.

A Liberal/National government would also trial an opt-in ‘digital pigeonhole’ from 2014, for the growing number of Australians who want to go ‘paperless’, in what it describes as a free, secure digital inbox for communication from all levels of Government.

The full list released today reads as follows:

  • Require virtually all Government services and public interactions to be available digitally (as well as in hard-copy) by 2017 on an opt-in basis;
  • Improve the transparency of Government ICT spending with the establishment of a US-style online ‘dashboard’ so taxpayers can assess the performance and progress of major projects;
  • Require Government agencies to trial next generation tele-presence systems from 2014;
  • Trial an opt-in ‘digital pigeonhole’ from 2014 for the growing number of Australians who want to go ‘paperless’ – a free, secure digital inbox for communication from all levels of Government;
  • Provide leadership encouraging standards in areas such as online identity verification and mobile payments vital to the growth of the digital economy; and
  • Encourage Government agencies to use cloud services and operate their IT functions more efficiently.

The opposition also again highlighted its NBN plan, which said it would deliver fast broadband to Australians sooner and at a lower cost.

"The plan builds on the Coalition’s commitment in April to deliver the National Broadband Network sooner, cheaper for taxpayers and more affordably for consumers," the parties said in a statement.

"These measures will deliver improved support and leadership for Australia’s transition to a digital economy with higher productivity, helping Australian households and businesses to prepare for economic and social change."

The news follows a viral ad campaign launched last week which saw people around the world laugh when told of the Coalition's broadband capabilities.

The full Coalition policy can be found in PDF form here, and watch the press conference for yourself below.

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