Page 3345 - Week 11 - Wednesday, 18 September 2013
maybe taking some inspiration from NICTA, understands the important role that ICT skills are playing in transforming how our society works.
I am concerned for all of the reasons that I have mentioned that the incoming commonwealth government plans to cut millions of dollars out of the funding of NICTA. This is worrying because it tells me that they do not see the benefits that come to the government and for all of our community here in Canberra from ICT innovation in improving the delivery of services, to make communications to citizens more effective and to enhance infrastructure. I commend Mr Gentleman’s motion to the Assembly.
DR BOURKE (Ginninderra) (12.22): This motion is important, very important, not just to the future of—
Mr Doszpot: It is, Chris. I agree with you. For the first time I agree with you.
DR BOURKE: I am sure there must have been other times when you have agreed with me, Steve.
MADAM DEPUTY SPEAKER: Mr Doszpot and Dr Bourke, please address your comments through the chair.
DR BOURKE: Madam Deputy Speaker, this motion is important, very important, not just to the future of Canberra and NICTA—Australia’s Information Communications Technology Research Centre of Excellence. I know, from the new federal government’s pre-election Canberra bashing, that it cares nothing for the fate of this city or pulling resources to the tune of $42 million from NICTA, affecting enterprises and researchers based here but serving the nation.
This motion is important because it is about Australia’s future as a leading, sophisticated, First World economy, relying on the innovation, intelligence and industriousness of Australians. Our national economy is a diverse mix of industries—agriculture, mining, manufacturing, services, education and more. We are blessed with abundant land to farm and resources to exploit, but more and more our advantage, in all our industries, is our skilled workforce, our knowledge base and our advanced technology developed with assistance from NICTA.
Ending or ignoring the needed investment in advanced technology targeted at Australian industry is short-sighted. Just as Australia’s economy once rode on the sheep’s back, until markets changed, the coalition short-sightedly believes our economy will ride forever on the back of a Haulpak truck carting ore for China.
Again, markets change. Markets and demands for what we have are hard to predict. About the only things we can be sure of is that the future involves information and communications technology, and the technology our industries rely on is constantly advancing in many directions. Unless we continue to support research and development through NICTA, staying at the forefront of advances and spinning them into new industries, we will be condemned to being followers in technology, not leaders. I want our future to be as ICT producers, not consumers; producers, not