RealTime IT News

Australian Government Announces E-Commerce Strategy

The Australian Government announced a major strategy paper outlining its approach to e-commerce and what it calls "the information economy."

As part of the strategy, the Australian Government will also hold a series of summits in regional Australia over the coming months to offer country areas the chance to learn of the opportunities offered by the information economy as well as providing the government with feedback on the national strategy.

The strategy document, titled "Towards an Australian strategy for the information economy," outlines ten key strategies the government will adopt in its national policy.

These include:

  • maximising opportunities for all Australians to benefit from the information economy by raising awareness and ensuring access, skills and knowledge
  • train the workforce to develop opportunities within the industry
  • increase the use of e-commerce by Australian businesses as well as influence the emerging international rules and conventions for e-commerce
  • develop the Australian information industries through industry support programs and industry-specific initiatives
  • implement a large intranet for delivery of all appropriate government services
  • set the legal and regulatory framework for the information economy and ensure its integrity and growth.

In related news, the Government announced a series of forums designed to address issues of digital copyright.

The forums aim to bring together copyright creators and investors, and those in charge of running Australia's cultural institutions, to discuss how copyright might best be managed in the digital environment against the backdrop of the Government's proposed reforms.

The first in the series, the Copyright and Electronic Image forum, was recently held at the National Gallery of Australia in the Australian capital city, Canberra, and was attended by 260 people including arts executives, multimedia developers, print publishers, lawyers and academics.

The forum was hosted by the Department of Communications and the Arts in conjunction with the inter governmental New Technologies Working Party, a national body established by the Australian Cultural Ministers Council and represented by the Commonwealth, State and Territory arts, online services and new media departments.

During the forum the Australian Minister for Communications, the Information Economy, and the Arts, Senator Richard Alston, announced that the Government is currently establishing a new package to deal with copyright issues that will include "a new right of communication to the public."

"We're acknowledging the opportunities that are created by the digital age and we're adapting copyright regimes to ensure that creatives are fully rewarded but at the same time, that users have proper access," he said.

The next forum will take place in Brisbane on September 21 and will be looking at indigenous culture in the age of the Internet. Other forums are scheduled for later in the year to discuss connectivity, fair dealing and copyright licensing.