As one of the world’s largest trading nations, Australia has a reputation for its fair and open market for technology investment. The country’s high-tech industry is the envy of the world. However, some in the technology sector worry that the growing reliance on imported goods and services by Australian consumers may leave the country vulnerable to cyber attacks and other vulnerabilities. The country’s strong economic and political position provides a counterbalance to these concerns. Now, the government is reportedly looking into ways to bolster the country’s information technology system through the development of a cyber defense strategy.
Currently, the Australian technology industry “faces some challenges,” according to The Australian newspaper. The paper quotes Tim Costello, the chief executive officer of business solutions analysis company KPMG Australia as saying, “Cyber threats have been a long-standing concern in Australia, both domestically and internationally.” The Federal government’s decision to allot $ Aus$5.6 million (US$4.3 million) to the creation of an Information Technology Australia Centre was designed to “reinforce Australia’s own national IT infrastructure,” according to a press release from the office of the Prime Minister. The funding was meant to foster local technology companies and help them develop “cutting edge technology,” according to The Australian. The Australian Technology Industry Association (TAI) also anticipates the Centre will help “to strengthen the economy and provide jobs and employment opportunities.”
In November, The Australian reported that the new laws would help Australian businesses secure the kind of intellectual property they need. The laws, according to The Australian, will make it easier for companies to apply for protection for their inventions. The new laws will require that businesses register their intangible assets, such as software and information technology systems, with the Australia Office of the Patent and Trade Office (IPTO). By doing so, businesses will be able to take advantage of a system of patents that they have created. According to The Australian, the new laws will also help ensure that businesses and technology innovators do not suffer from “denial of patent rights,” which has become a common problem in the country.
The ICT sector is a rapidly growing area in Australia, with many ICT business parks sprouting up across the country over the last few years. Many of these ICT business parks have been established as a result of reforms in the telecommunications sector that were brought about in response to fears that digital innovation was being hindered in Australia. The ICT business park model is one that allows innovation to thrive, while ensuring the protection of intellectual property rights. According to the Australian government’s Minister for Communications, Johnatin, who is responsible for the setting up of the ICT Business Park model, “This innovative space-age model provides a platform for ICT companies to innovate, build relationships and create wealth that can be shared”.
The new laws are a crucial part of a company’s development cycle, as they will help a company to be able to better protect its intellectual property, while at the same time ensuring that it continues to profit during transitional times in its business cycle. As Johnatin indicated, this is a system that “provides a way in which companies can continue to make huge dividends while at the same time reducing the costs and risks associated with new developments in the economy. These reforms are also critical because they help us to move away from a point where governments dictate ICT decisions to ICT companies. This would have a serious impact on the long-term sustainability of the Australian economy.” According to the Australian government, the new laws will prevent “an ICT company from being used as a weapon against competitors” and will instead help ICT companies work more openly within the economy.
The creation of business links between ICT-related industries and other industries has also been made easier thanks to the new reforms. According to the Australian Business Journal, “they [the reform measures]… aim to foster collaboration between ICT departments and other industries to increase the efficiency of delivery, and to reduce the cost and risk of ICT solutions.” In doing so, Australia is taking the lead in creating a greener economy through the application of ICT solutions into the country’s economy. The Australian Government hopes that these innovations will also create more jobs for Australian citizens, while also improving the nation’s quality of life.