Government's Digital Road Map a Dead-End for Not for Profits
Thursday, 23rd July 2009 at 1:01 pm
Leading Not for Profit technology organisation Connecting Up Australia (CUA) has slammed the Rudd Government’s recent plan for the digital economy.
CUA CEO Doug Jacquier says that Senator Conroy calls the plan a ‘roadmap for Australia’s Digital Economy Future’ but for the Not for Profit and charity sector it’s simply a dead end.
Jacquier says that in over 100 pages, the Not for Profit sector, an employer of over 600,000 Australians, gets not a single mention.
He says it can only be assumed that Senator Conroy and the Government doesn’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.
Jacquier says the the plan points to digital capacity programs for government, for business, for education and seemingly every other interest group and they are no doubt all very worthy.
He says it includes $43b to build a national broadband network but not a single cent for a sector that accounts for over 3% of Australia’s GDP.
He says 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 society together.
He says 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.
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.
Jacquier says that before the last election Senator Conroy told the Not for Profit sector he supported their technology aspirations, however it seems this Government has systematically disengage itself from the sector from the moment it came to power and that’s simply not good enough.