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Labor hacks into Australia’s IT industry.



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Senator the Hon Helen Coonan Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts

Media Release

The Hon Helen Coonan MP Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts

15 September 2004

Labor hacks into Australia’s IT Industry

Labor’s IT spokesperson Senator Kate Lundy has shown a clear disregard for the Australian IT industry with news that the ALP would slash or reshuffle the public service agencies committed to ICT, Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, Senator Helen Coonan, said today.

“The IT industry should be very concerned about Labor and Senator Lundy’s lack of commitment to Australian IT companies and the information economy,” Senator Coonan said.

“As with other industry sectors, the ICT sector should be extremely concerned about Labor’s industrial relations policies and its desire to re-unionise the workforce. ICT SMEs should understand that Labor’s commitment to wind back industrial relations will reduce workplace flexibility for fast growing ICT start-ups.

“Union officials will be allowed to wander into ICT small businesses unannounced - even if none of the employees are union members and Labor’s policies to regulate independent contracting arrangements will harm the thousands of ICT contractors currently employed in the sector.

“IT companies with Government contracts should be worried by Labor’s intention to preference companies who are prepared to work within its union friendly industrial relations framework when awarding government contracts. Labor would include clauses in all government contracts that would allow the contract to be cancelled when companies breach Labor’s industrial relations policies.

“Hidden in the savings for its tax plan, Labor announced it would scrap the accelerated depreciation for software. This is a typical Labor anti-business measure which will have a much larger impact on the IT sector and the economy than the $35 million a year Labor is claiming it will save.

Media Contact: Jane McMillan 0438 690 305

www.minister.dcita.gov.au

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“Senator Lundy’s understanding of the business needs of the indsutry she is supposed to be the shadow spokesperson for is non-existent. Senator Lundy has indicated that she would reallocate $34 million for the ICT Incubators program, despite the fact it has attracted $160 million of private capital and supported 340 start-ups.

“Labor claims to want to encourage onshoring activity but will scrap Invest Australia, an agency that has so far secured $580 million investment in ICT operations in Australia by 27 offshore companies generating 1750 jobs for Australian workers in the last 12 months.

“We are now told that Labor’s IT policy contains more slashing and burning of Government IT support including plans to take the IT out of DCITA. Labor will also take the knife to AGIMO despite recent plaudits for its guidance on open source, its encouragement of environmentally sound IT policies and the real leadership it has shown in the use of IT and interoperability in Government and online service delivery.

“Senator Lundy has claimed that Labor will make the Australian Government CIO a more influential position - by cutting their available resources and staff. This is both an incomprehensible and indefensible position from Labor.

“The industry must question Labor’s commitment to IT. After more than eight years in Opposition Labor still doesn’t think that IT is important enough to rank as a Cabinet position.

“The Coalition recognises that the ICT sector is key to productivity growth and economic development in Australia and will continue to give the industry the attention and support that it deserves.”