The federal government has just delivered another excellent investment in the digital environment, it has labelled as an economic contribution to the digital settings, infrastructure, and monetary incentives for the growth of Australia’s digital economy. “The digital industry is key to ensuring that Australia remains a vibrant economy,” said Minister for Industry, Employment and Skills Employment Wayne Swan. “This government’s plan recognizes the importance of continuing to foster Australia’s technological edge, while at the same time creating jobs, and maintaining Australia’s competitive advantage.” This plan is really very encouraging for all those who have been waiting for the day when the digital economy can really take off in Australia. As the economy grows, the employment opportunities will follow. The digital revolution needs a good platform, a great location, and the right infrastructure – and this plan just came out of the woodwork.
According to the news report, the state government says that the program is centred on promoting information and communication technology by improving its current system, establishing a nationwide Information Technology strategic growth agenda, promoting tertiary education and research, and creating a national broadband platform. It is hoped that this program will encourage the growth of Australia’s digital industries, in particular the information and communication technology (CIT) sector. This is a pretty accurate description of what the Australian government says about its IT and digital technologies agenda. Australia is just starting to make headway in international IT exports, but this is a step in the right direction.
There are some significant incentives included in this plan. One important one is the Federal taxation rebates and information technology tax offset that is available to businesses in Australia that use e-invoicing. The rebates are quite substantial and could potentially save business owners hundreds of dollars per annum. The second important incentive is the Information Technology Infrastructure Investment Program (ITIIP). This is a $5 billion dollar program that is being promoted as the most important initiative in the Australian economy to drive its growth and development forward. There are also several other smaller programs.
This initiative, which includes the e-invoicing and ITIIP, is designed to boost Australia’s economy, create jobs, improve our nation’s future connectivity, and promote international cooperation. The program has been launched in phases to achieve these goals. In the first phase, the government says it will focus on e-commerce, information and communication technology, and digital manufacturing. Later stages include greater integration of e-commerce and other digital technologies with conventional business models. Finally, the government says that the aim of the program is to increase Australia’s current infrastructure and stimulate the economy with an increased demand for higher productivity, innovation and digital technologies. It’s quite interesting to note that the main objective of the Australian economy, according to the current government, should be to ensure that future connectivity is facilitated through the use of digital technology.
Australia’s current e-invoicing industry is based primarily on telecommunications and the processing of credit/debit cards. The electronic commerce industry is seeing tremendous growth, especially in the area of payments processing. Australia’s Digital Economy Lab, which is part of the Australia Institute for Innovation, has developed a series of tools for implementing e-commerce solutions in the retail sector. For instance, they have developed payment gateway software that would enable retailers to accept payments in a secure way, eliminating the need for a second party – such as a bank – to process card transactions.
As part of the program, the Australian government would also like to make the payroll system more efficient. They plan to train and certify employees who would then be able to handle the payroll administration of large businesses. Smaller businesses, which would usually outsource this function, would then be able to take advantage of the program in order to streamline their accounting process and decrease paperwork, which is often a stumbling point for them.
The program would also like to see e-invoicing programs hosted on the Internet. Currently, many programs are being set up on mobile devices and the government would like to see this change. This is because of the “unbundling” benefit that online services have. It allows companies to effectively manage their accounting process without having to take on the cost of maintaining multiple websites. With a single website, all transactions can be tracked. This would make it easier for the customer service representatives to serve their customers more efficiently.
To further aid businesses, the program would also like to see more training courses available. Currently, there are several training courses that are being held regularly, with many more scheduled for the future. This would increase the number of people who are properly trained in handling e-commerce programs and would also create more business opportunity for those people who already know how to do this type of work. In short, the program would like to see more training courses available so that businesses can become more effective in providing support to their clients.
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