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Paul Fletcher says that “internet based offering is one of the great constants of modern economics”

by Chris Huckstepp •
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Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Communications, Paul Fletcher, told CIDA’s ‘Digital Disruption’ audience that nations can do well from digital transformations, but are at the same time susceptible to threats.

The opportunity for Australia is clear, “modelling by PWC shows that an ecosystem based on innovation and digital technologies has the potential to increase Australia’s productivity and raise GDP by $37 billion in 2024,” said Fletcher

In order for this figure to be realised, Fletcher warns that “if we’re not participating as a country in creating that technology, we’re going to be purely a consumer of overseas technology.”

To continue ‘creating’, Fletcher identified Australia’s need to:  

  • Talk honestly about national innovation performance and identify opportunities;
  • Identify its competitive advantage and strategic response at the level of “an individual corporation or at the level of a nation”; and
  • Face up to the challenges start-ups suffer in terms of attracting talent and finance. 

Fletcher talked up some organisations with high ICT usage, including Rio Tinto’s Control Centre in Perth, “300 people work in this centre, and it looks rather like a foreign exchange dealing room in a bank.” In addition to talking about government initiatives such as the Medical Research Future Fund, Fletcher cited the University of Tasmania and CSIRO’s Sense-T initiative, which uses sensor technology to gather and store data in the cloud, including “the heart rate of oysters.”


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