Australia’s telecommunications landscape is a mess. After a brief ray of hope when the then federal Labor government announced a majority FTTP National Broadband Network plan in 2009, to the eventually implemented ‘multi technology mix’ NBN that we have now, the digital divide for many Australians has continued to become more fractured. Fast forward to 2021 and there are a multitude of technologies (and associated problems) that Australians must live with in order to obtain what should be a basic utility — internet access.
What a year. COVID-19 has left barely any aspect of our lives untouched, but in IT the change and acceleration it has wrought led to the pandemic being called ‘CIO of the year’ back in April. And it deserves that title, having shown businesses the value and necessity of investment in IT for working from home and without physical contact. Most of these technologies have been around for a while, and often employees were asking to use them but being refused by recalcitrant IT departments. Let’s go through some of them.
The COVID-19 pandemic that began sweeping the globe in early 2020 has resulted in several effects that have significantly changed many people’s lives. One of these changes is in how and where people work. Although it could be (rightfully) argued that many employers had already understood and embraced the advantages of true workplace flexibility, it was not until the realities of the pandemic set in that the shift took place in earnest.
It’s been a very busy year for the IT industry in Australia, with a number of significant developments during the past 12 months.
So it is candy time again, where the various parties line up to promise us goodies or scaries. Technology touches on most portfolios in some shape or form and — while we haven’t been able to address all of the portfolios and announcements here — we have taken a look at some of the technology-related policies and announcements from the major parties, and provide our take on what these mean for the information technology sector.
We now know that we will have a federal election on 18 May. In our next newsletter, we will look at the tech policies of the major parties — where they vary, where they’re largely aligned, and provide some feedback on those policies. Today, though, we’re going to keep looking backwards at history a little.
There are two issues that I’d like to provide a quick update on today — the nbn, and the Assistance and Access Bill (2018). As you’re aware, ITPA has spoken strongly on the nbn in the past. We absolutely support the notion that a national broadband network built to deliver access for the nation is a positive concept. It not only allows us to compete on an international stage, but also to deliver critical services and capabilities domestically in an equitable fashion between city and country areas that never would have occurred had the job been left to the private sector. Indeed, some of the arguments against the nbn have been that no private sector company would build such a network due to the risk and lengthy ROI projections attached to it — which is precisely why it needed to …
I was recently asked (on Twitter, but that part really isn’t that important), while discussing the Assistance and Access Bill (I’ve written about that particular topic a few times here already), why someone would join ITPA as a financial member. What does a member get back in return for $165 each year (roughly the annual cost of a takeaway coffee per week)?
2018 has been a big year, and quite a mixed bag. We got a new national Notifiable Data Breaches scheme, which was a step forward in ensuring that if an organisation collected and then lost control of your information, they had to tell you about it. The 457 visa scheme was replaced with a ‘Temporary Skills Shortage’ visa — in theory a move in the right direction, but ultimately one that was made with little industry consultation. The jury is still out on whether this will ultimately be a positive for the nation.