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Digital content strategy.

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The promotion of Australia’s vibrant and dynamic Digital Content Sector will be a key priority of the Coalition’s new Digital Content Strategy.

Digital content and applications will become increasingly important, both in terms of driving broadband take-up and as a means of expressing Australia’s unique cultural identity. The Digital Content Strategy will create an environment in which the Digital Content Sector can grow and flourish.

Supporting digital content creators

The $2.1 million Digital Content Fund will provide seed grants for the development of innovative, including interactive, broadband content. It will assist Australian Digital Content producers to remain on the cutting edge and produce local product to compete against work produced overseas.

The $5 million Business Development Fund, part of the Launceston Broadband Project (LBP), is providing seed funding for developers of broadband content and applications for business and consumers, to be trialled on the LBP test bed.

Further, the Coalition has recognised the digital content sector as part of the ICT industry for the purposes of its Government industry development program.

The Coalition has also supported he development of cultural content, through the establishment of Australia’s Cultural Network, which enables Australians and the international community to access information about Australia’s culture and cultural institutions and their collections online, and by providing $500,000 for a pilot project of the Performing Arts Multimedia Library, to explore copyright issues in the electronic environment.

Clusters and Government programs for digital content industry development

This Digital Content Strategy will fully explore the potential for a more effective clustering approach for the Sector, with the objective of accelerating the production, distribution and marketing of digital content and applications domestically and internationally. The Strategy will also examine ways in which significant Government programs such as the $34 million Online Curriculum initiative and the $200 million Virtual Colombo Plan can be leveraged to the benefit of Australia’s domestic Digital Content Sector.

The Online Curriculum initiative will support national collaboration to make high quality online curriculum resources readily available to Australian school systems. It will develop a body of curriculum content which addresses agreed national priorities, supports Australia’s cultural identity and nurtures innovative skills in young people. It will also stimulate a competitive educational online content market domestically and enable Australian curriculum content developers to exploit market advantage globally.

The Virtual Colombo Plan aims to create opportunities to improve education and access to knowledge across the developing world from primary school teacher training to advanced courses for policy makers. It will provide significant opportunities for Australia content developers.

The Strategy will also examine ways in which digital rights management can be made more efficient and less expensive for digital content producers who are working across a number of different mediums.

The introduction of interactive television in Australia will open up exciting new opportunities for the Digital Content Sector. In order to promote these opportunities, the Coalition will examine ways of expediting the digitisation of the existing HFC cable networks. A review of the current datacasting rules will be conducted in early 2002, to ensure that they provide

maximum opportunity for the development of new services that do not breach the moratorium on additional free-to-air television licences.

The Digital Content Strategy builds on the Coalition’s proud record of supporting creativity and innovation - core assets in ensuring future economic prosperity for Australia in the digital age.

Media Contact: Annabelle Herd 03 9650 0233 or 0408 293 458

2 November 2001