ACS chuffed over budget ICT gains

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ACS chuffed over budget ICT gains
The Australian Computer Society (ACS) has acknowledged the gains for the ICT sector in the 2006-07 Federal Budget and called on the Government to continue making technology a national priority.

ACS President Philip Argy said the Budget initiatives of value for the industry were those designed to stimulate growth for SMEs.

“The local ICT sector is largely made up of small to medium size enterprises and this is where technology innovation lies,” he said.

“We were encouraged by the venture capital initiatives in this year’s budget, including $200 million for technology development via an innovation investment fund program and a further $73 million for Invest Australia.”

Argy said the group also welcomed the increase in value for depreciating business assets, which should have a powerful flow on effect for local technology suppliers by encouraging business to invest in new or updated technology.

Other ICT-friendly initiatives were $22.9 million in funding to contribute to the provision of online content for all students and teachers and enable schools to gain better access to digital resources and a $495 million overhaul of Department of Immigration (DIMIA) computer system.

Argy called upon DIMIA to structure the tender so it fully considers local SMEs, and not just the larger suppliers.

ICT-related initiatives announced in the budget included, the encouragement of venture capital investment through an introduction of venture capital limited partnership (ESVCLP) investment vehicle, backed by $200 million to support a third round of the Innovation Investment Fund program.

Around $22.9 million will go to schools over four years to support services to promote national consistency and contribute to the provision of online content for all students and teachers.

The government also planned to improve depreciation arrangements by increasing the diminishing value rate from 150 percent to 200 percent for depreciating assets. This will provide Australian business with an incentive to keep pace with new technology and remain competitive.

Telecommunications consumer representation and research grants of $3.4 million will be provided over the next four years to support organisations that represent the interests of consumers or conduct research into telecommunications issues.

ICT companies would receive $495 million from Department of Immigrationto provide Australian ICT companies with $495million as part of their ‘Systems for the People’ project.

The Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) has also welcomed the budget.

Rob Durie, chief executive officer, AIIA said the budget initiatives contain some very positive drivers for the ICT industry.

"The tax cut for depreciation of investments which will be worth some $3.7 billion to Australian businesses over the next four years, along with the other key initiatives that we feel will assist in encouraging future growth of the ICT industry," he said.

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