The Australian Government is seeking to increase the effective use of networked information and communication technologies (ICTs), especially the internet, by consumers and all businesses to drive higher productivity growth and community participation in the digital economy.
The ‘digital economy’ refers to the global network of economic and social activities enabled by ICTs, particularly the internet. It includes commercial transactions, personal dialogue, information, entertainment and delivery of services. The term is often used interchangeably with ‘internet economy’ and ‘information society’.
In August and September 2008, the Australian Government consulted industry and other stakeholders on the future of the digital economy via three workshops and a high level forum. Senator Stephen Conroy, Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, chaired the forum.
The key outcome of these consultations was an announcement by the Minister that, in consultation with industry and other stakeholders, the Australian Government would prepare a Digital Economy Future Directions paper for release in the first half of 2009. The document you are reading is a draft paper that is part of the ongoing consultation on implementation of the themes and suggestions raised in the workshops and the forum. It has been circulated widely across Australian Government agencies and benefits from a ‘whole of Government’ approach.
The Future Directions paper will describe the nature of the digital economy, the benefit it offers Australians and include a series of case studies with examples of Australians using the internet in innovative ways. It will also describe the respective roles of government, industry and other stakeholders in maximising these benefits and opportunities from the Australian Government’s existing commitments to facilitate the digital economy. This consultation paper will inform that part of the Future Directions paper that outlines the roadmap for Government and industry to maximise Australia’s online participation.
The Government appreciates that there are currently several live tender and funding processes underway that have implications for how we will use the internet in future—specifically, the National Broadband Network (NBN) process and the internet service provider (ISP) filtering ‘live’ pilot.
The Future Directions paper is not intended to address any matters relating to the NBN process, which is a live, competitive process bound by probity considerations. In a tender process such as the NBN it is of critical importance that integrity and confidentiality is maintained to ensure that the commercial and policy objectives of the Australian Government are not compromised. This means that the Australian Government is not in a position to comment or speculate on the outcomes of the process, or to disclose any information not already in the public domain. In addition, the paper is not intended to address any matters concerning the ISP filtering ‘live’ pilot.
Industry and other stakeholders are invited to provide input to and comments on the specific topics raised below. Please forward your responses to DEFutureDirections@dbcde.gov.au by Wednesday 11 February 2009, clearly indicating any material that is commercial-in-confidence. The Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy will collate and edit input for the Digital Economy Future Directions paper before publishing it in the first half of 2009.