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Monday, 4 May 1987
Page: 2285

(Question No. 1715)

Senator Morris asked the Minister for Industry, Technology and Commerce, upon notice, on 1 April 1987:

(1) Is the Minister for Industry, Technology & Commerce aware of an attempt by the National Information Technology Council to establish an Australian microcomputer system.

(2) What assistance can the Government give to this project.

Senator Button —The answer to the honourable senator's question is an follows:

Yes, I am aware of involvement by the National Information Technology Council in the development of specifications for computer systems for Australian schools.

Over the past three years, the National Advisory Committee on Computers in Schools, which was set up by the Commonwealth Schools Commission, has prepared two reports on the user needs and technical specifications for future school computer systems.

As part of the government's Computers in Schools program, the Department of Industry, Technology & Commerce has had the responsibility to ensure that Australian computer companies have the opportunity to provide a commercial perspective and commentary on these reports.

The Department has provided funding to the National Information Technology Council to coordinate this industry input. The honourable senator is no doubt referring to recent press reports arising from the Council's advertisement.

The outcome of the educator reports and the commercial perspectives will be to provide a set of guidelines on the role of computers in schools and to detail the sorts of technology which will underlie the next generation of school computers.

By involving Australian computer software and hardware companies in the exercise, the Government is giving them the opportunity to develop systems which would meet the requirements of the next generation of Australian school computers.