Australia, 21 January 2015: The Australian Computer Society (ACS) today called on all political parties to commit to Queensland becoming the leading digital economy in Australia. The ACS has highlighted four key issues for debate during the Queensland election campaign, including a dedicated Digital Economy Ministry with an Advisory Council, more focus on digital skills and digital literacy, and creating digital cities.
Chair of the ACS Queensland Branch, Dr Nick Tate, said: “Digital technologies will create more jobs by providing the essential foundation on which future growth will be delivered for Queensland. Digital technologies are critical drivers of productivity growth, innovation, and higher standards of living. So we need to ensure Queensland has an adequate supply of ICT skills, a digitally-literate workforce, and ongoing collaboration on digital issues between academia, industry, government and the community. We need to use digital technologies to help create new industries, help existing industries retain a competitive advantage, and provide new opportunities for employment and growth.”
The ACS recommends a focus on four key issues:
1 Digital Economy Ministry & Digital Ministerial Advisory Council
Establish a dedicated Digital Economy Ministry headed by a Cabinet Minister, supported by a Digital Ministerial Advisory Council. The Council would provide advice to the Government on issues and initiatives related to: the demand and supply for ICT skills; digital literacy of the workforce; workforce development planning; and assisting key Queensland industries to become more competitive in a digital economy.
2 Digital Skills
There needs to be a stronger emphasis on digital technologies in the education system. The ACS strongly recommends mandating a Digital Technologies stream as part of the primary and secondary school curriculum; encouraging VET providers to ensure all students attain some minimum level of ICT skills and competencies; and employers and educators must work collaboratively to provide ICT students (tertiary and VET) with more work-integrated learning opportunities (such as internships) to help develop work readiness.
3 Digital Literacy of Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs)
With SMEs representing the vast majority of businesses in the economy, driving growth requires Governments to create an environment where these businesses can thrive. This includes SMEs being assisted to attain minimum levels of digital competence and literacy. The ACS recommends the creation of a “hands on” program which works with individual businesses to benchmark their digital literacy, identify specific areas of weakness, and assists them engage with suitable organisations and professionals who can help address these weaknesses.
4 Digital Cities
A commitment to building one or more ‘digital cities’ in Queensland by 2020. A digital city deploys digital technologies deeply to generate significant and widespread community benefits .The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) – the world's largest association of technical professionals – defines Digital or Smart Cities as: "A smart city brings together technology, government and society to enable the following characteristics: smart cities, a smart economy, smart mobility, a smart environment, smart people, smart living, smart governance.”
For the full ACS QLD election statement head to: https://www.acs.org.au/news-and-media/news/2015/2015-queensland-election-priorities-for-a-stronger-digital-economy
Dr Nick Tate / 0412 674010
About the Australian Computer Society