Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Disclaimer: The Parliamentary Library does not warrant the accuracy of closed captions. These are derived automatically from the broadcaster's signal.
National Press Club -

View in ParlView

(generated from captions) VOICE-OVER: Today at the

National Press Club the

managing director of IBM, Glen

Boreham. As Australia embarks

on an frur boom, Mr Boreham

looks at the opportunity to

embed high-tech systems,

monitor road use and create a

smarter economy. IBM chief

Glen Boreham with today's

National Press Club address.

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome

to the National Press Club and

today's National Australia Bank

address. We're pleased today

to welcome back a long-standing friend of the club in the

person of Glen Boreham, managing director of IBM

the past three and a half Australia and New Zealand for

years. It's a business, that

part of the IBM group is a

business that has nearly 15,000

employees and attracts revenues

of around about $4 billion a

year. But Glen Boreham's had

senior position s with the

group around the world and

address the whole spectrum of

its operations. This month, he

was appointed a founding member

of the Government's Information

Technology and innovation

Council and he's deputy chairman of the Information

Industry Association, so a very

firm foot in the industry side,

but he's got a significant

presence also in the arts sector in Australia. He's on

the board of the Australian

Chamber Orchestra, and last

year was appointed in inaugural

chair of Screen Australia, the

Government's new agency charged with developing a competitive

film and television industry,

and also providing support for

projects of cultural

significance. A big agenda covering some of the big

critical national issues .

Please welcome Glen Boreham. APPLAUSE

Thank you, Ken, and I should

start by congratulating you Ken

on being recognised over the

weekend on the queen's Birthday

Honours List. Good afternoon

and as Ken mentioned thank you to the National Press Club for

inviting me back. As the

leader of Australia's largest

IT company, I'm sure you're

expecting me today to talk to

you about technology, and I

certainly will. However, the

heart of my message is actually

about people, and my belief

that given the right

information, the vast majority

of people will make smart

decisions. Smart decisions for

themselves, for their family

and for their future. I

believe we urgently need to

make Australia smarter, and I'm

not talking as you might expect

about education. Last time I spoke here at the National

Press Club, education was one

of my themes. I talked about

the importance of preparing

Australians for work in the

global economy, but today two

years on, we face an even

greater challenge, the global

financial crisis. Having spent

many years of my life living

and working overseas, my

concern is that while our

Australian way of life is good,

it's not as great as it has the

potential to be. Our cities

are increasingly congested, our

farmers are battling drought

and flood. We need to find

cleaner sources of energy.

Unemployment is forecast to

climb and our economic growth

is under threat for the first

time in nearly two decades.

And you know what, we can't use

the global financial crisis as

the only excuse. According to

the World Economic Forum, in

2001, Australia was the world's

first most globally competitive

economy. Today, we rank 19th.

Fifth to 19th during the course

of this decade. So my question

today is simple, what are we

going to do about this? And

when I say 'we' I don't just

mean the Federal Government, I

mean every government, every

business and every Australian.

We all need to work together to

address the issues that we

face. Because you know what,

that is what Australians do.

When real challenges emerge, we

pitch in. We mobile in our

hundreds of thousands. Look at

the extraordinary way that we

respond to natural disasters.

Look at Australia's response to

the bushfires earlier this

year. People were amazingingly

generous with their

contributions of time and

money. Whole communities and

organisations mobilised.

Ordinary people become heroes

and solutions to challenges

were found. And it doesn't

just take a disaster to tap

into that energy. Look at the Australian surf-lifesaving

movement. For over a century,

hundreds of thousands of

volunteers have kept our

beaches safe. Look at the way

Sydney, my home town, mobilised

in the run-up to our Olympics.

Remember how much we changed

and what we achieved.

Government, businesses and

individuals came together and

made things happen. My point

is, when challenges are thrown

at us, when we can see a way to

address a crisis, Australians

invariably step up. But the

problem with many of the issues

we're facing now, is the fact

is most of us don't know how to

help. This is not because we

have a crisis of leadership,

far from it. It's because as

individuals or businesses we

don't have enough information

to make smarter decisions. So

what do I mean by that? Well, no-one deliberately wastes

water. No-one chooses to sit

in traffic. No-one wants to

pay a bigger electricity bill.

Yet, we allow those things to

happen every day, because we

don't know how to avoid them.

But what if we did? What if every Australian had the

information they need to make

smarter decisions? What if you

knew by sure that by switching

your pool pump to run at night

you would save considerable

amounts off your electricity

bill? What if your dishwasher

knew exactly when electricity

is at its cheapest and turned

itself on to take advantage of

those lower prices? What if a

farmer knew how much water his

crop needed, instead of just

guessing and overflooding the field? And the water system

delivered exactly the right

amount of water at the right

place and the right time? What

if you were notified at a very

practical example, the minute

that your train or bus was cancelled, and you were immediately given suggestions

about the best alternative?

What if you knew the freeway

was blocked actually before you

left home for work, and you

were sent a text message

suggesting you leave perhaps an

hour later? If we had that sort

of information, I believe the

vast majority of us would make

better and smarter decisions.

And if we did, what difference

could the sum of all of those

decisions make? At an

individual level, it would

undoubtedly improve the quality

of our lives. We wouldn't sit

in traffic jams, our suburbs

would be less polluted. We'd

have a more sustainable

electricity supply, we'd stop

wasting so much water. And

along the way, we'd all save

money. Now, take that up to an

industry level. What if every

business leader had better

information? Wouldn't they use

that to make better decisions,

to increase productivity, to

reduce costs and prices, and to

make their organisations more

successful? Now what about if

we take that up again to a

national level. If every

Australian and every Australian

business was making smarter

decisions, what would that mean

collectively to our country? We

could grow our economy, better

protect our environment, we

could make our country more

competitive. If we had enough information to understand the

real impact of our actions on

air pollution, or on dam levels

or on inner city congestion,

wouldn't we choose to act

differently? Imagine what would

happen if we could see our own

personal environmental impact,

and that of our family or our

business? Imagine if we knew

which were the most

energy-efficient schools or

businesses, or suburbs? And

koordingly, which were the

worst offenders. --

correspondingly, which were the

worst offenders. Now all of

this may sound like science

fiction, but everything,

absolutely everything that I've

talked about today is possible.

The technology exists to

deliver this sort of

information in a meaningful

way. Think about it. We today

already have sensors in the

form of transitors and computer

chips built into most aspects

of our lives. Your car, your

mobile phone, your camera, your

bridge, your passport, goods

you buy at the supermarket.

Many of our pets - they all

carry computer chips. And it's

not just in these things, but

also in everything we build, in

our pipes, in our bridges, in

our houses, or we add them as

we install security systems or

airconditioning systems. And

the scale of this digital

buildout is truly phenomenal.

By next year, there'll be one

billion transitors per person

on the planet. Within two

years, there'll be 30 billion electronic tags tracking

virtually everything, from

letter and parcels to

livestock. In fact, today

Australia has the largest

animal tracking system in the

world. But so far, these chips

have been put in place

primarily for a single purpose.

Car manufacturers put chips in

their vehicles to help with

maintenance. They roll your

car into a bay, plug it in, and

the chips tell them what needs

to be fixed. These days, a new

car contains 20 million lines

of computer code, and I

recently read the new Mercedes

has as many electronic control

units as the new Airbus A 380.

But that's just the car

industry. The same thing is happening in almost every

commercial sector. Retailers

put chips in their products so

they can track their products

on their shelves in their

warehouses. Builders put

sensors in pipes so they can

easily locate breaks once the

pipes are buried underground.

But think about for a moment,

the potential of this at a

higher level. The chips that

manufacturers put in your car

for one purpose, can actually

help it become part of a much

more powerful and beneficial intelligent transport system.

Let me give you an example.

The GPs and wireless technology

can make your car, allow your

car to communicate, communicate

with the road, the bridge, the

tollways, and this can be used

to create an intelligent

transport system that can not

only sense, but then respond to

problems. A smart transport

system that can warn you about

traffic jams before you're in

them, suggest the best

alternate route and divert you

away from trouble spots. In

retail, chips literally

embedded into products could

bring you the things you want

at the right place and the

right time. Today, many

retailers are estimating.

They're estimating inventory

levels and customer needs, and

they don't always get it right.

As a result, every year the

world's retail ers stockpile

$1.5 trillion in excess

inventory. At the same time ,

those retailers lose $120

billion in sales, missed sales,

simply because they don't have

the right products on the

shelves at the right time.

Imagine how much waste we could

avoid and how much better it

would be for us consumers if

retailers better anticipated

the products we wanted. It's

the same story with sensors in

pipes. They are the starting

place to build out a smarter

water system, a water system

that notices when a pipe bursts and automatically sends

maintenance to fix it. A water

system with ground sensors that

measures soil moisture and

plant growth, that can be

connected via mobile technology

to computers that can forecast

rainfall. And then direct

water exactly where, when it is

needed. Frankly, we have been

presented with an opportunity

that wasn't really planned.

The buildout of smarter

infrastructure started on a

case by case basis, but these

individual projects can now

connect together and be part of

much larger systems. We can

make our roads, our rail, our

utilities, our cities digitally

aware. And when whole systems

are digitally aware, the

potential is truly enormous.

In Australia, we're already in

the first phase of developing

smart electricity grids with

Electricity Australia and

Country Energy and from the

perspective of these companies,

an intelligent grid will make

their distribution far more

efficient. But a smart grid

will give us information. It

can put a smart metre in your

home so you can see, or perhaps

more accurately, your children

can see how much electricity is

being used. It can connect

with your appliances so that

they can use electricity during

low-cost times. And it will

allow you to generate power

from your own solar panels, and

then in a 2-way exchange,

actually sell it back into the

grid. All over the world,

smart systems are helping

communities make better

decisions. In North Carolina

in the US, some families are

halving their electricity bills

by using solar panels in this

way. Now, North Carolina has

126 days of sunshine a year,

compared with 240 in my home

town Sydney, almost 300 in

Brisbane, and I was surprised

to learn that here in Canberra,

we actually have 220 days of

sunshine a year. So you can

imagine the potential for all

Australians once our

electricity grids can truly

work in two ways. Today, six

million households in Germany

are lowering their electricity

bills because an intelligent

grid gives them the information

to do so. In Sweden, an

intelligent road system gives

Stockholm's commuters the

information that they need that is reduced traffic congestion

by a traffic and reduced carbon

emissions by nearly a half.

Hospital patients in Chicago

are benefiting today from a

smarter health system, which

gives doctors immediate access

to their health records. The

system sends test results,

medical images directly to a

display, so doctors get them

the second they're available

and can commence treatment

immediately. And in Denmark,

hospital patients are going

home earlier, or avoiding

hospital admissions altogether,

because nurses can monitor

blood pressure and other vital

signs remotely. Even natural

ecosystems, things that we may

not naturally be familiar with,

or associate with being

digitally aware, can be. For

example, in Galloway Bay

Island, scientists are

digitalising the sea bed.

They're gathering information

on water temperature, wave

length and marine life, and

they're using that information to accurately forecast

everything, from wave patterns

through to the right time to

harvest their mussells. All

over the world, intelligent systems are helping

individuals, businesses and

governments make smarter

decisions. And this must be a

national priority for

Australia. So how do we seize

this opportunity? Well, I

applaud the Government's

stimulus package and the Budget's support for

innovation, but we still need

to look harder into the future. The Government has addressed

the past by much-needed

investment in roads and rail

and schools. It is addressed

the present with direct cash

payments to simulate the

economy here and now, but we

are still writing the chapter

on the future. Of course, the

national broadband network is

an important instalment on that

chapter. Broadband is

absolutely key to enabling

smarter system. When the Prime

Minister announced the national

broadband network, he said it

was the equivalent of building

the railway network for the

21st century, and he's right.

But to stay with the railway

analogy, we must remember that

the broadband network itself is

only the tracks. It does not

include the rolling stock or

the trains themselves. And if

we only invest in the tracks,

the network, we will actually

miss the real value. The

network is the track that smart

services will depend on.

Services that will revolutional

ise, truly revolutionalise the

way we live our lives.

Australia is not spending tens

of millions on a brorn network

just so people in the bush can

play online games faster.

We're doing this to improve

critical services upon which

all of our lives depend. Like

education services, so

Australian students whichever

they live can access and

participate in high-quality

virtual classrooms. Like

electronic health services, as

used in Denmark, with data from

a heart rate or a blood

pressure monitor sent to your

doctor so they can be alerted

to and act on irregulators.

Like safety devices for the

aged. With movement sensors

that could warn you or a carer

if your elderly parent were to

take a fall. Even teleconferencing services,

perhaps from home, with no need

for a special room or expensive

equipment, so small businesses

can present themselves to

global markets. And a large

number of our population could

have the opportunity to work

from home. Imagine the carbon

emissions we could avoid if

people met via teleconferencing

rather than always driving or

flying. Imagine how much you'd

save on petrol or fares, not to

mention the travel time that we

would save. Take that up to a

business level. When British

Telecom implemented

teleconferencing to replace

nearly one million face-to-face

meetings in a year, the company

saved almost $500,000, and the

impact on the environment was

the equivalent, from that one

action by one company of taking

18,000 cars off the road. Six

weeks ago, I led a forum of

over 40 public and private

sector leaders discussing the

next steps in developing digitally-aware infrastructure.

Going into that forum, I

remember wondering whether we

could reach consensus. We had

environmental leaders sitting

side-by-side with big industry.

We had regulators sitting next

to the regulated. And what

astonished me in those

discussions was everyone agreed

that smarter infrastructure was fundamental to Australia's

growth and our prosperity. The

only issue was how to develop

it as quickly as possible. At

the forum, we reached three important conclusions about

this. The first - and this is

crucial - was that Australia

can no longer view physical

infrastructure, roads, rail,

ports, concrete, steel and

metal as being completely

separate to our digital

infrastructure - broadband,

data centres and devices. We must consider these two

together when we plan our

transport, our water and our

energy needs. And when we ask

these leaders where should we

start? I was expecting the

energy companies would call for

smarter electricity grids, the

road companies would call for

smarter transport systems. But

everyone said "It's

all-important because in fact

it is all interconnected". One

of our speakers, the

distinguished environmentalists

Tim Flannery, highlighted the

interdependent nature of our

world. He pointed out that

each system that may appear

independent actually depends

and influences on the others.

For example, a desalination

plant may boost our fresh water

supply. On the other hand, it

has an impact on our

electricity system. Even

commendable efforts like using

rainwater tanks can actually

impact other systems.

Australia has the widest use of

rainwater tanks in the world,

and that's great, but research

shows that using an electricity

pump to extract the water from

a rainwater tank is more energy

intensive than getting water

from the regular water mains.

Now I'm not for a minute

suggesting we shouldn't use

rainwater tanks, but it is

important that we understand

the whole picture. We don't

want to create an electricity

issue while trying to solve a

water problem. To avoid that,

we have to be able to see how

these systems connect, so we

can figure out the real impact

of a water saving or an energy

saving idea. Look at electric

cars. They might solve the

issue of shrinking oil

reserves, but ultimately, they

have to be powered from our

electricity grid. In Denmark,

they've already figured out how

to deal with that issue. One

of the energy companies is building the electrical version

of petrol stations, where you

can exchange your car's empty

battery, and the energy company

then recharges the battery,

benefiting from doing it

overnight using off-peak wind

power. So the second important conclusion from the forum is

that we need every system to be

digitally aware and we need

them to be able to communicate

with each other so we can see

how a change in one affects the

other. Of course, the creation

of these interconnected systems

and all of the information that

will be travelling across them

requires us to think about

important issues such as important issues such as

privacy, data security and

information exchange standards.

But one thing to remember here

is that technology can be the

solution to these issues. For

example, following 9/11 the

United States put in place very

strict new requirements for passenger information for

people travelling into their

country. The US requirement

was in direct conflict with the

European Union privacy laws,

who have laws amongst the

strictest in the world. A

technical solution was found

that satisfied both parties,

with the US provided with the

passenger information that they

required, and the Europeans

comfortable that the

information was automatically

destroyed so it couldn't be

used later for any other

purpose. Technical solutions

can be developed to deal with

very complex challenges. The

third major conclusion from the

forum was how to start, how do

we get the ball rolling and the

delegates were clear. Well,

we've made some progress, the

time for talk is over.

Whenever existing physical

infrastructure is being

refurbished, we must embed

digital technology and we need

to get started in as many places as possible. In our

homes, in our towns, and in our

businesses. Australia already

has many terrific trial

projects understood way in

roads, in energy, in water, but

we need more, because quite

honestly we do run the risk of

being left behind the rest of

the world. As I speak, the

country of Malta is building a smart grid countrywide that

links its power and its water

systems. The grid will

automatically detect leakages,

allow for lower pricing when

demand is less and give

consumers the information that

they need to be able to use

power when it's at its

cheapest. Ultimately, this

will enable the country of

Malta to replace fossil fuels

with sustainable energy, and

Malta is a great example of a

country that's making its

physical infrastructure smarter

and more efficient, and we have

a lot of systems in Australia

that will benefit enormously

from this type of improvement.

But this is only one part of

the equation. For Australia in

particular, with our

services-led economy, smarter

systems actually have a huge

potential to boost our exports.

We may think our economy

depends only on resources, but

last year services exports were

more than coal and iron ore

exports combined. And because

services exports are typically

provided electronically, smart

systems will help us grow. systems will help us grow. This increasing important and

sustainable export industry.

We know today, Australia is

already a world leader in

exporting education services,

but there's so much more

potential. With smarter

digital infrastructure we could

supply our excellent financial

and accounting services, our

legal services, our

architectural and engineering

services up into the

Asia-Pacific basin, opening up

incredible new opportunities

for our local businesses. On

the domestic front, according

to new research by Access Economics, intelligent

technologies have the potential

to increase our gross domestic

product by $80 billion and

create hundreds of thousands of

new jobs over the next decade.

Now, other studies in the US

and the UK lead me to believe

that those figures are not just

very well grounded, but they

may well be conservative. And

in assessing whether to invest

in smart infrastructure, we

also need to look at the

considerable cost of not doing

it. In Australia, estimates

put the cost of time, the time

we spend simply sitting, time

wasted in traffic at over $11

billion a year, and that figure

doesn't include the cost of

petrol while we're sitting

there, nor the negative impact

on our environment. And

congestion is just one of the

many issues smarter systems

will help us to address. So

there is a lot at stake here,

so much we can save, so much we

can do better, and so many

opportunities that quite

frankly we haven't even thought

of yet. Personally, I'm particularly interested in the

solutions we will come up with

when we can see the whole

picture. Right now, we

typically look for solutions

through a very narrow

traditional lens. For example,

when we see traffic congestion,

we immediately think the

solution lies in the physical

road system, that we simply

must build more lanes, a 4-lane

highway, becomes a 6-lane

highway, becomes an 8-lane

highway. But if we pulled back

for a moment and we saw the

bigger picture, we might

realise that the problem isn't

just the number of lanes, it's

the fact that we all want to

use those existing lanes at the

same time of each day during

our peak hours. So perhaps the

answer isn't just to build more

roads. The answer is to smooth

out our use and our existing

infrastructure. And we could

do that by taking a wider view,

and including a different

system. In this example, the

broadband network, if broadband

enabled more people to work

from home, perhaps individuals

and businesses could reinvent

the way we work, avoiding such

Technology offers many pronounce ed peak hours.

different ways of solving our

problems, and that's why we

must consider the possibilities

of technology before we start

building traditional

infrastructure. Heather Ridout

from the Australian Industry

Group gives a great example and

she says in the ship building

industry they used to start

with the hull, the hull was the

big thing, and then they built

the systems last. But as the ship's systems became more

important, today they start

with the systems, and then

build the physical ship,

actually build the hull around

them. And I believe that is an

excellent approach for Australia's physical infrastructure projects. We

need to think about the systems

at the same time as we talk

about the metal. For years,

Australia has coasted along as

the Lucky Country. Now, we

need more than luck, we need to

be a smart country. In this

time of financial crisis,

smarter systems offer us all realistic, practical

opportunities to tackle some of

the greatest challenges that

our country faces. The way we

travel, the way we work, the

way we power our homes, the way

we manage our health, the way

we educate our children. These

can all be improved by the

rapid deployment of smarter

infrastructure. But this will

not happen in Australia unless

everyone plays their part. We

need the Government to

integrate intelligent

technology into every

infrastructure build, as is the

vision of Senator Conroy. We

need businesses to collaborate

with Government and with

universities to fund pilot

projects to prove to us locally projects to prove to us locally

how successful this can be. We

need communities to demand to

be given better information,

and while I'm here at the

National Press Club, we need

the help of the media to help

tell the stories of the

importance of this to

Australians. Because I have

great faith that given better

information, the vast majority

of us will make the right

decisions for our families, for

their communities, and for our

country. And the sum of those

decisions could launch

Australia into a far more

prosperous and sustainable

future. A future that

personally I'm excited about.

Where together we can energise

our economy, we can tackle

climate change, and we can

create jobs for the next

generation. Thank you. APPLAUSE

Thank you very much, Glen

Boreham. Let's move onto our

media questions today, starting

with Simon. You've painted a

positive picture of more jobs

and lower costs and cars off

the roads through the extension

of the application of

technology, but there's a cost

side to provide the electricity

to run all the data centres and

charge up all the

charge up all the mobile device

s, means cars on the road. The

points you raised in your

speech today, most of them come

from the Access Economics report that IBM commissioned

that you launched last month.

At that launch, I asked you and Rick Symes from Access

Economics if you'd done a total

energy carbon budget of the net

carbon outcomes from the kind

of outlooks you were saying and

you hadn't done that.

Shouldn't it be incumbent on

the industry to accept that

it's ultimately very, extremely

dependent on the power grid,

and ah, and to accept that that

responsibility and to come to

the party with a full budget of

the energy use required for the

kind of future you're

outlining. Thank you for the

question. I need to answer it

in two ways. First of all,

clearly the ICT industry has a

responsibility to get itself in order and, you know, companies

like IBM and many others in the

industry are increasingly

making our products more energy

efficient, providing incredibly

more storage or computing

capacity for the same or less

electricity use, and we need to

continue to do that and that's

fair. Following the point you

raised when we did the Access

Economics launch, I actually

did some research, and there is

no - not yet - a total picture

available and, I acknowledge your point that that needs to

be worked. But we have

identified many individual

study s that say, well look, I

could have my electronic health

records kept on a disc spinning

somewhere, or I could have it

in a physical paper metal file.

And the work that has been done

that I've seen indicates that

clearly the digital answer is

more environmentally friendly.

I mean, you look... even though

I live in this industry, I get

amazed by the advances in

technology. You go to a

department store and you buy

two tera byte of storage and

you plug it in using little

power. It can be the answer

that we do need to build the

final picture, I agree. The

next question is from David

Denham. David Denham from

'Preview Magazine'. You've

demonstrated effectively that

we've really got the knowledge

to have a much better future

both in Australia and globally,

but my question really relates

to the wisdom and the

behavioural patterns of humans,

and I'd just like if I may, a

short quote from one Karl Marx

who I'm sure you're fairly

familiar with. In 1967 he said

"Owners of capital will

stimulate the working class to

buy more and more expensive goods, houses and technology,

pushing them to take more and

more expensive credits until

their debt becomes unbearable.

The unpaid debt will lead to

bankruptcy of banks, which will

have to be nationalised". Seems

to me we haven't learnt very

much. So my question is, do

you think that money is too big

a driver in our society? And if

you do, then what the hell can

we do about it? OK, I could

take 10 minutes to answer that

question, but look, I think

there is consensus amongst individuals and business that

we need to address the issues

of the climate of our environment and, I think,

companies across the board are

coming to the party - I know in

my organisation we have elected

to buy green power at a higher

cost than we could get it

elsewhere. So if it was just a completely cheapest capitalist

point of view... people want to

do the right thing. At the

heart of my speech, I do

believe if we provide

consumers, if we provide

people, if we provide our

population information, they will make the right decisions.

I mean, one of the things that

technology has done - I mean,

you look at the Internet. The

Internet has opened the world

up. It's allowed information

to flow, it's given people

access to things that they

wouldn't have had before, and I

believe if we can take that to

the next level we will see

people use that information in

the right way for the right

reasons. Good afternoon. As a

fellow Sydneysider, there is

more sunshine in Sydney, and I

have to say as a fellow

Sydneysider, that the NSW

Government could benefit from

your transport solutions.

Earlier in your speech you were

talking about the Government

can't blame the economic crisis

for everything. Now with the

unemployment figures due out

tomorrow, economists expect the

jobless rate to increase. What do you think the Government

needs to do more of to

ameliorate the effects of the

global financial crisis? Please

give us some policy solutions,

as well. I think I actually

should make sure I send you

Steven a copy of the Access

Economics report, because I

think that that gives us some

ideas. Investment in things

like smarter electricity grids,

investment in intelligent

transport, investment in

electronic health records can

all help underpin a more competitive Australian economy.

Quite frankly, I think the

Australian economy got a little

unfit. We had 17 years of unbroken economic growth. I

think we averaged 3.3% GDP

growth over that time. During

that period of prosperity when

corporate profits are on the

rise, living standards are on

the rise, there is a natural

tendency, I think, for us to

get a little complacent and I

suspect we may have done that.

I don't blame anybody. I think

it's quite a natural reaction

to the circumstances we were

provided, and I think that the

global financial crisis gives

Australia a lot of what I talk

about in this smarter planet is

incredibly relevant,

particularly to Australia.

With 21.6 million people, the

vast continent and the ability

to connect ourselves together,

and drive the next wave, the

next wave of productivity, the

next wave of new jobs and the

next wave of, you know, the

economy will eventually turn,

and turn us back to prosperity.

David Crow from the 'Financial

Review'. I've got a question about the network that will support the smart technology

you've talked about, which I

assume will be the Government's

NBN. Do you think it's

possible to do a cost benefit,

and do you have any thoughts on

what the best - I'll put it

this way, if you were running

the NBN as a commercial

enterprise, do you have any

thoughts on what would be the

best way to roll it out, who

the first customers should be,

business, inner city, regional

areas? Any thoughts on that question. Senator Conroy is on

the record saying that the $43

billion was calculated as a

top-end estimate. They expect

it will be considerably less

than that. There is

anticipation that there will be

some private sector investment

coming in. But even if it is

$43 billion, I think sometimes

we need to step back and you

look at as a country we have

elected to invest $6.2 billion

on our car industry. Now I'm

not suggesting for a moment

that's not the right thing to

do. But $6.2 billion

protecting one industry, and we

have a national broadband

network that literally touches

all of us, every State, every

business, large or small, all

schools, our governments, and

it can enable as I've outlined

in the speech, all of us to be more productive, more

efficient, and more innovative.

So, I think, if you look at it

that way $6 billion to $40,

maybe it doesn't seem so out of

line. As I say, there are

suggestions from the Government

that it may be less than that.

In terms of rolling it out, I

would like personally to see a

priority on regional, rural

Australia. One of the things

quite openly that I'm concerned

about as I talk about all the

wonder that this new world can

deliver, is we need to be

cognisant of the potential of a

digital divide, that there are

haves and have-nots. I would

encourage the Government to

look at parts of Australia

where broadband is not adequate

today and to start there.

Laurie Wilson from apack. I

must say, I'm now concerned

about whether I should be

flying on an Airbus, or whether

if I buy a Mercedes it's desperately overengineered.

That is, of course, if I could

afford to do either. You should

teleconference. What I would

say to you, and would raise in

question if you like, is that

when you talk about the broadband network as really

being, if you like, laying the

tracks and we need to think

about where the trains and

rolling stock are going to come

from, many people would say if

you bring it to us, it'll be

used. You seem to be

suggesting if we don't have a

more effective plan it's a bit

like a better mouse trap -

people might not actually use

it the way it can be? I do

think as the tracks are being

laid that we actually need to

think about how we could fully

use it, how we can fully

exploit it. I've talked a lot

about - I talked in my speech

and the benefits that could about electronic health records

have. I've relayed to my team,

I had a personal situation

recently where I was travelling

interstate to give a speech and

I had a dental problem that

meant if I didn't get it fixed

I couldn't give the speech. So

I trundle along to an emergency

dentist in a city outside of

Sydney, at one small level I go

through the process from

scratch. I spend 15 minutes

filling the forms out. The

dentist sends me in to get

X-rays, perfectly good copies

of which are available in my

dentist in Sydney. You think

of the incredible... that's one small-scale Glen Boreham

example, but you think of the incredible inefficients there

today in our health system that

we could improve, save money

deliver better patient outcomes

that will be enabled by

broadband technology and the

network capability. We need to

start to think about those

today. We are, but I think we

need Government and business to

come together and really

director of the National Press upscale this. Tony Melville,

Club. From listening to your

speech, do you think it's time

we buried the term shovel ready

when we're talking about

infrastructure, it does suggest

bridges and roads. Also, you

talked about pilot-smart infrastructure projects. Have

you got any other examples of

those perhaps from your home

City of Sydney? Yeah, I do. I do think the term

'shovel-ready' is indicative of our traditional mindset.

Again, none of us can argue

with the requirement to build

out our roads or our rail. If

you're stuck in traffic, you

know we need to do these

things. Get rid of the

demountables in schools and

replace them with permanent

classrooms. We need

keyboard-ready projects ready

for me to actually hit the

button. In terms of examples,

I do have examples. Just

thinking them through, most are

outside of Sydney, which is a

bit of a worry. But in

Queensland, IBM started a project with Queensland motorways where they're

building a new bridge over the

Brisbane River and they wanted

to put cashless tolling in

right away, and they worked

with us on a fairly standard

solution. It'll be better for

drivers on that road system if

they don't have to stop and

throw money into a basket and

they can do cashless tollway.

But what happened in that

dialogue with Queensland

motorways is similar to what

I've said today, we actually

determined once you have

animatronic tag in every car,

which you will because it's

cashless, you come up with the

capability that wasn't planned

that you can make that an

intelligent transport network.

So you can know where the cars

are, where congestion is. You

can use computer modelling to

predict, you know, what to do

in the empt of an accident or

breakdown or trouble on the

roads and that's an example.

Another one is IBM is working

with the University of

Melbourne on irrigation in the

Murray Goulburn Basin where the

example that I gave in the

speech is actually real. Too

often the way we irrigate our

fields, our farms is on a best

guess basis and typically, I

guess if you're a farmer and

crop and your livelihood and you want to look after your

your income, if you're going to

err, you err on the side of

overwatering the field. But by

deploying, which we've done in

a pilot, by deploying sensor

technology in the soil,

measures soil moisture and

plapt growth, feeding that via

mobile technology up into a

computer, you can actually

predict and direct water

exactly when and where it's

needed, saving very

considerable amounts of

irrigation water. In fact, the

estimates coming out of this

study is that if fully

deployed, we could avoid

wastage of water in

Murray-Darling gull bourne, one system, equivalent to what the

city of Melbourne uses in a

year. The last example I'll

give you is I mentioned Country

Energy in my speech and, we're

working with them on smart

metring and we've got a little

pilot centre set up in

Queanbeyan that I'm delighted in the Budget, what the

Government did was they

announced an investment of $100 million in smart electricity

grids and metres as a pilot.

And I think that's a terrific

thing, because one of the

things that's always frustrated

me - and I may have mentioned

this last time I was at the

Press Club - but it's really

easy for us to understand the

deficiencies in physical

infrastructure sitting in

traffic, can't water your lawn,

whatever else. But it's hard

for us to understand the

opportunity we're missing by

not deploying digital

infrastructure. So if we got a

couple of cities and regions in Australia where they have a

smart electricity grid, people

are using it the way I think

they will and we can say "Look

at that, it is real, it works,

it works in Australia" I think you'll get many communities

across the land saying, "Hey, I

want one of those". Closed Captions by CSI