The Australian Computer Society, – the professional association for Australia’s ICT sector – has released its Federal Election Manifesto, identifying five key policy areas that must be addressed if Australia is to secure its economic future in the information age.
1. Digital skills and digital literacy
3. Cyber security
5. Policy framework
This upcoming Federal election comes at a time when the speed, breadth and depth of changes in our society are unprecedented in human history. The changes are being driven by a combination of rapid advances in technology, exponential growth in computing power, and global connectivity. We now live in the information age. An age which opens up exciting new opportunities and potentially greater wealth and higher standards of living. It is an age where radical new business models are emerging, no market is out of reach, there is low cost of entry for new players, innovative new products and services can spring from anywhere on the planet, and the old rules for achieving growth and profitability no longer apply.
However, at a human level this journey in to the information age brings with it significant disruption. Many millions of jobs will disappear and be replaced by new ones. Many of the new jobs are as yet undefined but they will require different skills, a changed skills mix and a culture of resilience and ongoing learning. This has significant implications for the current workforce, for our students who will be the workforce of tomorrow, and for governments as they seek to grow economies and at the same time maintain a harmonious and socially-inclusive society.
Against this backdrop and in this context, the ACS sees this current Federal election as a potential tipping point in our national aspirations for future generations. It is an election in which our political parties must acknowledge the depth and implications of digital disruption and seek to construct a policy program and adopt a philosophical approach to government which will best equip Australia to fully grasp the opportunities of the information age. This means leaving behind much of the previously conventional approaches to policy and adopting fresh, innovative and bold new ways of addressing the challenges before us.
The ACS therefore asks our political parties to focus on five issues which we believe are pivotal if Australia is to capture the benefits of digital disruption and ensure current and future generations do not get left behind. In each of these policy areas the ACS makes a number of recommendations.