Conroy's Digital Road Map a Dead-end for Not for Profits
20 July 2009 at 4:03 pm
Leading Not for Profit technology organisation Connecting Up Australia (CUA) has slammed the Rudd Government’s plan for the digital economy released last week.
CUA CEO Doug Jacquier said that Senator Conroy calls this a ‘roadmap for Australia’s Digital Economy Future’ but for the Not for Profit and charity sector it’s simply a dead end. In over 100 pages the Not for Profit sector, employer of over 600,000 Australians, gets not a single mention.
Jacquier said the sector can only assume that Senator Conroy and the Government don’t regard Australia’s 700,000 Not for Profits, of whom 35,000 are employers, as worthy of any consideration.
CUA’s submission to the policy development process argued for:
•Recognition of the importance of the charitable and Not for Profit sect or in the Australian economy generally and in the digital economy specifically.
•Effective representation of the Not for Profit sector at all advisory and decision-making forums on digital economy matters.
•Plans to provide specific and practical support towards upgrading the digital capacity of the Australian Not for Profit sector that at least matches the level of investment in other sectors of the economy.
We see digital capacity programs for government, for business, for education and seemingly every other interest group and they are no doubt all very worthy, said Jacquier. We see $43b to build a national broadband network. But we don’t see a single cent for a sector that accounts for over 3% of Australia’s GDP, Jacquier continued.
These are the organisations that care for children, support the unemployed, look after the aged, protect the environment, run thousands of sports clubs and offer services in all the other areas that hold our society together. When volunteer hours are included, they contribute more to Australia’s GDP than the mining industry. Yet the Government obviously sees them as unworthy of participating in the digital revolution, said Jacquier
CUA proposes the following strategies and calls on the Government to support and fund them immediately:
•Map the existing and required technology needs and support required by Not for Profits in urban and regional Australia.
•Develop systems for endorsement of suppliers of technology services to Not for Profits.
•Establish an executive briefing centre to upgrade the strategic technology planning skills of boards and senior management.
•Research the measurable impact of improved technology capacity on nonprofit service delivery and community outcomes.
•Prepare a plan for a long-term investment fund for non-profit technology capacity development and the mechanisms for its development and management.
•Develop projects to support nonprofits such as technology ‘health check’ programs, technology support services, technology volunteers, and training and development.
Before the last election Senator Conroy told the Not for Profit sector he supported their technology aspirations, Jacquier said. Instead we have seen this Government systematically disengage itself from the sector from the moment it came to power and that’s simply not good enough.
Links to Government Report
About Connecting Up Australia
Connecting Up Australia (CUA) is a Not for Profit organisation focused on information and communication technologies (ICT) and their use in the Not for Profit sector.