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

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
  • 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
  • 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

“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.

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