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Australia steps up Southeast Asian ICT relations

AvantiKumar | June 24, 2013
Australia is now living in the 'Asian Century,' says the State of Victoria Minister of Technology who attended CommunicAsia2013 as part of the country's largest ever Australian mission to the region.

Australia Victoria State Minister Gordon Rich-Phillips in Asia modified 

Photo -  State of Victoria Technology Minister Gordon Rich-Phillips during a visit to CommunicAsia2013.


Australia is committed to enhancing its relationships with the Southeast Asian ICT industry, according to State of Victoria's technology minister during a visit to CommunicAsia2013 held in Singapore recently.

"Australia is now living in the 'Asian Century' and, with ICT playing such a pivotal role in our lives and businesses today, we would like to engage in more 'Best Practice' sharing with the SEA region," said the State of Victoria technology minister Gordon Rich-Phillips, adding that "Victoria has much to offer being Australia's economic powerhouse and hub of innovation and technology."

Rich-Phillips, who was part of the state's Super Trade Mission delegation visiting SEA with 315 organisations and companies represented by 415 delegates, said it was the largest ever Australian mission to the region. This Mission also included 53 leading Victorian ICT companies and organisations who were attending CommunicAsia 2013.

He said that on a state government level, "Victoria leads Australia's technology industry with 28 percent of national revenue (with annual revenue of A$27 billion or close to US$23.76 billion). One of Melbourne's major strengths is its strong skills base, the largest in Australia."

In Victoria, the State Government is the single largest user of ICT services - across departments and organisations and in delivering services to the public - with government ICT expenditure in the vicinity of A$1.5 billion (US$1.7 billion) annually, said Rich-Phillips.

In addition, the Victorian Information and Communications Technology Advisory Committee advises the State Government on its ICT strategy, spanning the likes of civil service delivery, encouraging innovation and improving ICT procurement across government, he said.

"As a key step here, we have transformed the former Victorian Government Telecommunications Purchasing and Management Strategy into a government platform called VicConnect to deliver better connectivity, mobility and collaboration services for the Victorian Government," said Rich-Phillips.

"VicConnect stimulates innovation and efficiency in both government purchasing and use of ICT by working more closely and flexibly with industry to take advantage of new technologies and markets as they are developed," he said.

Sharing best practices

"Cloud-based services, both for business applications and for infrastructure, constitute perhaps one of the most exciting of these new models," said Rich-Phillips, adding that the state has "a comprehensive cloud strategy in place."

"[Cloud] offers the prospect of access to scale on a global basis, at a lower cost and with greater flexibility that can be achieved through the development and delivery of these services in-house," he said. "And it delivers more opportunities for speed to value in getting projects to deliver while helping standardise business processes," he further said in his keynote address.

He added his Department of State Development, Business and Innovation is pioneering one such Government cloud initiative - the Department's customer relationship management system called Global Engagement Management System (GEMS). "GEMS is used as a main point of engagement with about 10,000 active Victorian accounts and around 7,000 offshore businesses." 

"GEMS incorporates dashboard reporting capability and a collaboration application - Chatter - that helps users connect with colleagues and share business information securely and in real time," said Rich-Phillips. "It is accessed via the Internet, enabling instantaneous information retrieval and contact updates for staff in international or regional offices, for those on the road, and for those in offsite meetings using iPads and Blackberry devices."

"GEMS is also a powerful business intelligence tool that allows us to gather evidence directly from business and use that information to inform policy and programme development - and we are now upgrading it to incorporate an end-to-end grants management function as well," he said

"All in all, it is about effectively managing government ICT expenditure by developing an innovative culture that manages risk, increases productivity and delivers better services - and doing so helps stimulate industry growth and innovation," said Rich-Phillips. "We have learnt a lot along the way and that's why we are keen to share our 'Best Practices' with our neighbouring countries, just as we would also like to learn about other innovations that have emerged out of SEA."


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