INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATIONS TECHNOLOGY
The Hon. SCOT MacDONALD:
My question without notice is addressed to the Minister for Finance and Services. Can the Minister update the house on the recent opening of the new Australian Computer Society offices in Sydney?
The Hon. GREG PEARCE:
On 6 July 2011 I was delighted to attend the opening of the new Sydney offices for Australian Computer Society.
Order! There is far too much noise in the Chamber. I cannot hear the Minister.
The Hon. GREG PEARCE:
The Australian Computer Society is the peak body for professionals in the Australian information and communications technology [ICT] industry, with membership from all levels of the industry. The principal objective of the Australian Computer Society is to promote the development of Australian information and communications technology resources, notably in the areas of professional and skills development, standards, policies and ethics. Information and communications technology has a significant role to play in the New South Wales Government's commitment to encourage innovation and economic growth within the State. Sydney has the largest concentration of information and communications technology professionals in Australia and computer services are part of the State's fastest growing employment category over the last decade.
The Government spends over $2 billion per year on information and communications technology and employs over 5,000 people in information and communications technology roles. The information and communications technology industry growth depends on innovation that is built on skills, research, product development and commercialisation. Increasingly, the emergence and growth of many other sectors depend on advances in information and communications technology and the capabilities of our information and communications technology profession. Developing the information and communications technology industry and profession is important to securing and maintaining a high-growth economy. The driving forces behind this are the ongoing pressures for productivity gains and the accelerating demands of sophisticated users. It is not without challenges. More needs to be done to encourage interest in information and communications technology as a profession to ensure that New South Wales and Australia have the future information and communications technology skills needed to meet our potential. This includes exploring ways to encourage schoolchildren to consider information and communications technology as a career choice and encourage early career young information and communications technology professionals. In this regard, I commend the Australian Computer Society Young IT Professionals special interest group, which is hosting an event in August to discuss cloud computing and where it is headed in the next 12 months.
Members will be aware that I recently hosted an industry forum at Parliament House with the Deputy Premier and Treasurer to outline the Government's vision for information and communications technology in New South Wales. This vision is the start of a new collaboration between industry and government to put information and communications technology front and centre of government and to make New South Wales a leader in this area. The Liberal-Nationals Government is committed to making New South Wales the State of innovation. Industry is an essential part of making this a reality, and it is vital that experts both in government and in the private sector are working together to drive this agenda. I commend the Australian Computer Society on its work in advancing the information and communications technology profession and helping to build the next generation of information and communications technology professionals.
At the opening, which was attended by several leading information and communications technology businesses and individuals, I unveiled a plaque—and I encourage all members to go and have a look at it. It was my first plaque as a Minister. It is quite big and it is permanently on the wall of the Australian Computer Society offices. I will take any member who is interested to look at it. I know that the Hon. Sophie Cotsis would love to see it. They did not give me the plaque because they kept it for the wall, where it can remain in perpetuity. For as long as the Australian Computer Society exists it will have that plaque, which reads, "Opened by the Hon. Greg Pearce, Minster for Finance and Services, on 6 July." They gave me a little statuette to mark the occasion—I thought that was a lovely touch. I will bring it to the Chamber so that members can admire it and read what it says.