Territory Stories

Debates Day 1 - Tuesday 23 November 1999



Debates Day 1 - Tuesday 23 November 1999

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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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Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



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DEBATES - Tuesday 23 November 1999 disagree with that. RTIF, the Regional Telecommunications Infrastructure Fund project being managed by OCSAT, is progressing with the implementation phase about to begin and the request for tenders document will be placed with industry in the near future. I will pick up on comments made by the member for Wanguri - and I do agree with some of those comments. The RTIF funds alone will not be enough, in fact certainly will not be enough, in relation to providing all of the infrastructure that is needed. My ministerial colleague has given you a brief snapshot of the direction in which IT&T is headed in the Territory. One of the key elements in the establishment of all of these initiatives is raising awareness and community education in relation to IT&T issues. For instance, Internet sales are predicted to rise dramatically over the next 3 years, so consumers need to be made aware of this trend and the impact that it will have on them. OCSATs highly successful Life in the Information Age seminar series has developed considerable interest throughout the Northern Territory by providing timely and pertinent information. The seminars have now been running for over 12 months, and have helped raise the awareness levels of over 800 attendees. Speaking from my personal experience, after attending some of these seminars, launching a few of them, and speaking to people involved both before and after the series, it has gone a long way, this particular process, in raising peoples awareness of these issues, hopefully de-mystifying some of the issues in relation to information technology, and sparking these peoples interests to take the development further. It is concrete examples like this that I think put some of these things into practice. Its all and good for us on both sides of this Chamber to talk about how we need to raise awareness, and the things we need to do, but it is apparently only those of us on this side of the Chamber who are coming up with solutions. Also, knowing that Territory youth will require far more knowledge of computing, the Internet and e-commerce than their mums and dads ever did, weve sponsored a number of programs in Territory schools. The Youth Festival Web Challenge and the National Schools Web Competition are 2 of the most recent events. To ensure Territorians get the best from the new technologies, an Internet evangelist will provide a dedicated local resource to assist Alice Springs community and businesses to embrace the Internet and e-business. OCSAT is negotiating with the Commonwealth government for the provision of an evangelist in Alice Springs for 6 months of the coming year. This particular religion, and the name might have religious connotations, is certainly the religion of technology. Lets hope that the success of the program will lead to additional evangelists in other regional centres. The Deputy Chief Minister mentioned how the government intends to grow Territory businesses and services by developing generic e-business models to help small businesses with the introduction of new technology as well as looking at other ways to provide further specialised support. Part of this will include such things as development of an offshore electronic business policy to position the Northern Territory in the global community and to ensure all risks and opportunities are identified and the benefits realised as an important component of an overall e-business strategy. To put the growth of electronic commerce into perspective on a global scale, its anticipated that current annual sales of $114b will rise to $1.4 trillion by 2003, with much of that activity centering on the USA and Europe. The Canadian experience has seen 60% of products bought over the Internet provided from the USA. In other words, while electronic commerce provides us with opportunities, it also provides us with a whole series of threats because, while we can be taken to the world, the world is even closer to our doorstep. However, again, on a positive note, we had the very significant signing today of the new business partnership with the local Territory IT success story, Octa4, an organisation that not only is leading in Australia and the world for that matter, but is charting the course and setting many of the benchmarks. I commend the infrastructure of Octa4 and the vision that Octa4 has put in place throughout the Northern Territory and the rest of Australia. The alliance with the organisations from the United States and from the BIMP-EAGA countries, in particular the Philippines and Malaysia, will see the Territory business, Octa4, going offshore in a far greater way than ever before. Its those sorts of success stories that we need to continue to nurture, and the role played by the government in doing that was also acknowledged today. But all credit must go to that particular organisation. Another indicator of e-commerce and world trends is the Shell Oil Company, indicating a refinement of its procurement policy to enable acquisitions to be sourced globally on an efficiency basis. This is a developing global trend and, while increasing risks to businesses, it will also provide opportunities in the Northern Tenitory. To take advantage of this change and the increasing use of e-commerce, business must be aware of the issues