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




Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory





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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 and their position to snare those opportunities. OCSAT has recently completed a study which has been entitled Electronic Business - Realising the Benefits fo r the Northern Territory. This study provides vital information for Territory businesses about the current state of their business in the Territory and forms the basis of a developing Northern Territory e-business strategy. Through the second partial sale of Telstra, funds have become available and will certainly become increasingly available for the federal Building on IT Strengths, the BITS program as its known, and for the development of a number of business incubators here in the Northern Territory. A lot of work is already taking place in that particular area. On the recent on-line council meeting in Alice Springs, we certainly took the opportunity to once again put the Northern Territorys case to the federal authorities. OCSAT is negotiating with the Commonwealth to provide at least one on-line incubator here in the Territory to assist business embrace the Internet and e-commerce. OCSAT is also supporting the information industry advancement group which is supporting the growth of the local IT industry. That is an organisation that was set up some 18 months ago, designed to represent business and advise the Northern Territory on the future of some of these opportunities here in the Northern Territory. Along with the things Ive covered and many of the initiatives mentioned in the Deputy Chief Ministers opening statement, it is clear that the Territory is ready, prepared, and also is willing to embrace IT&T services and opportunities available through electronic technology. I take a moment to inform the House of the significant progress already made in the outsourcing of the governments information technology services of which there are 3 specific areas. These areas have all been designed not purely as an efficiency measure by government, or a cost-cutting measure by government, but to use governments bulk buying power to help nurture and grow local businesses. The first specific contract resulted from governments decision to outsource to the IT company, CSM, Computer Support and Maintenance for the provision of the whole of government electronic mail services. The contract is worth $7.8m over three years. A snapshot of the transfer shows that all government agencies that were using the mandated Lotus Notes environment will be transferred to CSM Management by 31 December. As at 30 October, 71% or 8103 users and 31 or 74% of agencies, had been transferred to CSM Management. All agencies not currently on the approved Lotus Notes common environment will be transferred by the end of next year. This is new work for a local company and adds to the IT capability in the private sector, a capability that will now be available to the whole Northern Territory and not just the government. The second significant area of progress lies in outsourcing of the governments communication services. At present, the whole-of-govemment cost for the provision of telecommunication services is in the order of $23.5m per annum. The services are provided through agencies from the Department of Corporate and Information Services. Through our advanced communication strategy, the government intends to reduce the cost of telecommunications, facilitate the provision of a wider range of communication services in the Territory to government, business and the community, to encourage private sector developments in the communications industry, to enhance economic development, and to increase the geographic reach of modem telecommunication services to regional and remote communities. On 8 April this year, a select tender was released to telecommunication leaders AAPT, Cable and Wireless Optus and Telstra for the provision of voice data and Internet services. In addition, tenders were required to identify staff transfer opportunities, value-added services, and industry development benefits that would result from being awarded the contract. The tender closed on 8 June, and we are now in the later stages of the selection process. As honourable members would recall, on 14 September, the Chief Minister announced the selection of Cable and Wireless Optus as the preferred tenderer for the provision of voice data and Internet services for the next 5 years, with an option to extend for a further 3 years on an annually renewable basis. The Department of Corporate and Information Services is negotiating a contract with Cable and Wireless Optus, and anticipates that contract will be signed in December of this year. I will pick up comments made by the member for Wanguri, and again touch on the areas of RTIF. As I said, in terms of that fund alone, picking up all the issues in remote communities, I agree with the honourable member - there is no doubt that other strategies need to be put in place. The honourable member made a reference to the strategies we would be looking at with Optus. Can I say that, apart from the fact that we are still in negotiations with Optus, it is not in Optus alone that we see the future of telecommunications here in the Northern Territory. Telstra still remains the biggest player here, and will continue to be so for a long time to