Debates Day 1 - Tuesday 23 November 1999
Parliamentary Record 20
Debates for 8th Assembly 1997 - 2001; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 8th Assembly 1997 - 2001
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
DEBATES - Tuesday 23 November 1999 documentation and the Deputy Chief Minister on the delivery of Foundation No 5. Mr TOYNE (Stuart): Mr Deputy Speaker, its good to see were finally getting there. Ive been looking through the statements that have come out so far during this exercise for a truly coherent view of how technology will develop in the Territory and how the Territory will fully utilise and come to terms with the sort of technologies that were talking about in the telecommunications and IT area. I still cant see any clear vision of how that relationship is going to work in the Northern Territory. I find it somewhat disturbing that the only attempt to broadly define a relationship to IT&T and the so-called knowledge economy occurs in a purely economic context. If you look at the way in which these technologies are going to impact on our society in the foreseeable future, its quite clear that the impact will be much wider than purely an economic one. It is already impacting on all aspects of government activity, not simply economic development, which is an important area, but also in the delivery of education and the delivery of health. Virtually every government service has to be looked at in a broad and visionary way if youre going to have a vision statement. When Im talking about these sorts of issues, I always come back to a very powerful word - networking. The thing that these technologies do more than anything else is create networks. They create them in many different senses of the word. They create them as an arrangement o f ... Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! Members will please refrain from talking while they are coming into the Chamber. Mr TOYNE: The first and probably the most obvious way in which you can talk about these technologies in the sense of networking is that they are created as electronic and physical networks. A common problem for people attempting to apply these technologies to some sort of social purpose is that its often taken as the starting point for any development. So what you end up with is a huge amount of effort put into discussing one technology option versus another, and very littie effort is put into the issues of how that interfaces with the activities that its being applied to. The IT&T industries themselves have acknowledged that in the creation of second-order companies who are specialising not in the actual rolling out and implementation of IT and telecommunications initiatives, but more in the strategic issues, you have to apply the use of a technology once it goes into a context. And were finding more and more that its those strategic companies that are influencing the industry and the pace at which this technology is used more and more. But thats still only the simplest form in which you could apply the term networking to this type of development. The obvious and proper starting point in considering any IT&T development on a very broad scale for the future of the Northern Territory is not the actual equipment, and not the different protocols by which it might work The crucial thing is, what are the activities you are trying to promote within our area of jurisdiction? When you look at it in that way, you suddenly start to see linkages between groups of people, cultures, countries, and government systems. In each of those, its going to take a very specialised development in order to make the technology fully realise its potential. There is some very sobering research out there about the overall impact of IT on productivity. Despite the fact that three trillion dollars have been spent on IT development world wide, something of that order, there has been zero increase in productivity overall demonstrated by some broad studies that have been done. Which just means for every time a gain is realised out of the use of these technologies, there has been other counter balancing occasions where it has either reduced productivity or not had any affect whatsoever. It is these issues that I would like to see in a vision statement. I would like to see which groups of people we are trying to link together in a stronger way. We have remote areas in the Territory, we have urban areas. They are often very different in terms of world view, the aims and the priorities that have been followed in those different areas, and the moment you link those with technology, you create a whole social interaction which has to be managed. We saw that time and time again with the trial activities that were set up though Tanimi network, where the very fact that two groups were interacting from two totally different environments and, more importantly, from two totally different world views, created a whole range of very challenging problems to be worked through before the overall activity became viable or effective. It is that sense that we would have to take on and be guided by because the Territory, as we hear quite often in the Chamber, has a huge diversity of groups. It is also in a very diverse region of the world. We are probably as isolated from the rest of Australia in a lot of ways as we are different to South-East Asia. There are quite distinct 4788
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