Joint with Shadow Minister for Innovation, Technology and the Future of Work, Clare O'Neil MP.

According to a new report Australia’s Digital Opportunity, released today, Australia is lagging behind global peers and failing to capture the economic opportunities of the rapidly growing global digital economy. 

The Alpha Beta report, commissioned by the Digital Industry Group Inc. (DIGI), finds that Australia ranks second-last among OECD countries for relative size of our technology sector and its contribution to the economy.  

Labor is concerned that while the OECD average is trending upwards, Australia’s already below-average performance continues to decline. 

Australia’s technology sector makes a significant contribution but is simply not reaching its full potential at a time when our floundering economy needs investment and productivity growth. 

The report indicates that the tech sector contributes $122 billion to the economy per year, equivalent to 6.6 per cent of GDP, and employs 580,000 workers in jobs that are majority high-skill, high-paid and productive. 

What’s more, the sector creates $44 billion per year in additional value to consumers in the form of free, cheaper and more convenient access to resources, entertainment and information that improve our lives and wellbeing. 

But these figures should be much higher.

The report finds that the Australian tech sector could create an additional $50 billion per year were Australia successful in catching up and matching the tech sector growth rates of our global peers. 

Based on comparative analysis of successful leading countries, the report states that the key lesson is that governments need to take a coordinated approach to the digital economy.

Unfortunately this third term Liberal Government doesn’t have a plan to make it happen.

The wholly inadequate paper they snuck out late last year demonstrates the lack of a coordinated approach to drive the digital economy not to mention a lack of ambition for growth.

It is unacceptable that Australia is so far below average in harnessing the digital economy and that we’re letting a significant opportunity for growth and prosperity pass us by.

This third term Liberal Government needs a real plan for Australia’s digital economy to ensure we remain competitive, realise our potential and build economic strength in the 21st century. 

Meanwhile Australians are missing out.

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