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Labor must come clean on its commitment to ICT.

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

Media Release

4 October 2004

Labor must come clean on its commitment to ICT

Mark Latham’s deathly silence on whether an IT Minister would have a seat at the Cabinet table should seriously concern Australia’s ICT industry, Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, Senator Helen Coonan said today.

“The ICT industry is vitally important to the future of the Australian community and underpins our economy which is why the industry needs the highest level of representation within Government,” Senator Coonan said.

“The Coalition has given the industry a strong and enthusiastic advocate within the Cabinet, and support in our public service through our commitment to maintaining AGIMO and DCITA.

“Labor on the other hand would slash programs, hollow out AGIMO and split IT from communications leaving the industry to battle for its survival within the Department of Industry, Tourism and Resources.

“It is all well and good for Senator Lundy to mouth platitudes to the ICT industry, but when her own party aren’t listening to her, when money is slashed from her portfolio to pay for other promises and when her leader won’t back her for a Cabinet post, how can the industry trust her to deliver?

“The Australian Computer Society has sought assurances from Mr Latham that the IT industry will have a seat at the Cabinet table but that call has fallen on deaf ears.

“For the sake of the hundreds of thousands of Australians employed in the industry Labor should come clean before the election and reveal its plans for the industry.

“On October 10 under a Latham Labor Government the ICT industry would be represented by a junior IT Minister without the clout to represent them effectively; would be trying to get in to see a Communications Minister whose only interest is Telstra and media moguls; would be trying to explain the IT industry’s concerns to Kim Carr, whose only interest is old-style manufacturing industries.

“The ICT industry does not want to be chasing after multiple disinterested ministers to have their case heard. They want one strong voice in Cabinet. The Coalition can deliver this, but can Labor?

“The industry deserves to know before October 9.”

Media Contact: Jane McMillan 0438 690 305