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Go slow Slomo finally releases digital economy strategy



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ED HUSIC MP

SHADOW MINISTER FOR THE DIGITAL ECONOMY

MEMBER FOR CHIFLEY

MICHELLE ROWLAND MP

SHADOW MINISTER FOR COMMUNICATIONS

MEMBER FOR GREENWAY

GO SLOW SLOMO FINALLY RELEASES DIGITAL ECONOMY STRATEGY

Capping off a litany of fails in the digital economy, the Liberal Government has

finally released its underwhelming digital economy strategy: “Australia’s Tech

Future”.

Looking more like a promotional brochure than serious strategy, it simply describes

initiatives already in train, is vague on targets and outcomes - and, importantly,

offers no bold vision to drive growth in our digital economy.

It makes you wonder: after all the delay in getting this done, was it worth the wait?

“To sneak out a long-promised strategy within a breath of Christmas tells you how

seriously the Coalition takes this issue,” said Shadow Minister for the Digital

Economy, Ed Husic.

“Releasing it - and its small business digital engagement plans - so late in the year

suggests the government is more interested in ticking off a long-avoided item on its

to-do list, as opposed to developing a serious strategy to drive the digital economy.

“With few performance targets - and in parts scant detail on serious policy

challenges around digital regulation - it fails to tackle the biggest challenge to our

digital economy: crippling skills shortages.

“It’s been estimated Australia needs 100,000 more digitally-enabled workers, yet

this government has proposed little in terms of investment or new money to help

respond to the demands of industry and our digital economy,” Mr Husic said.

“On digital infrastructure, the so-called strategy speaks of ‘planning to meet future

needs’, even as this Government rolls out a second-rate copper NBN that fails to

deliver small businesses with fast and reliable internet in 2018, let alone provide for

their future growth and sustainability in a world powered by 5G and AI,” said

Shadow Minister for Communications, Michelle Rowland.

“On digital inclusion, there is acknowledgement that Indigenous Australians and

people with a disability are amongst the most digitally excluded, but little is offered

to address those gaps as the digital divide widens under the Liberals and

Nationals.

“Undertaking to ‘track Australia’s performance’ without a clearly defined set of

targets, it’s clear this Government’s heart just isn’t in it,” Ms Rowland said.

The Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison Government has had one consistent thread in this

critical policy space: they are announcement addicted and performance

deficient. This report exemplifies that completely.

This visionless government can't prepare a strategy for the digital future - and so it

didn't, but our economy deserves a better shot at its digital future for the benefit of

all Australians.

THURSDAY, 20 DECEMBER 2018

MEDIA CONTACTS: LUKE HEFFERNAN (ROWLAND) 0409 818 001

NATASHA BOLSIN (HUSIC) 0476 125 112