Posted on 25. Nov, 2010 in Election Media Release, Victoria

A future Labor Government would act to cement Victoria as Australia’s broadband technology hub by funding two new ICT initiatives and implementing a new streamlined regulatory process to speed up the NBN rollout across the state.

The Minister for Information and Communication Technology, John Lenders, said a future Labor Government would provide $10 million of seed funding for the Australian Broadband Laboratory (ABL) and $5 million for a new national Australian e-Health Institute.

“A future Labor Government will invest in Victoria’s thriving ICT industry to capitalise on our success in bringing the hub of the NBN here,” Mr Lenders said.

“Victoria is set for a prosperous and exciting ICT future under Labor.

“The Liberal Party has never supported the NBN and doesn’t care about our ICT industry, releasing no ICT policies at all during the State election.”

Mr Lenders said the investments announced today built on the Brumby Labor Government’s $110million ICT action plan released last month.

He said by investing in ABL the laboratory would be able to create new products, services and applications for the Australian and international marketplaces.

To be based in the Parkville precinct, ABL will support up to 50 highly skilled jobs, including software developers, hardware and telecommunications engineers, business developers and regulatory experts.

ABL will leverage industry investment through company partnerships and will work with its sister organisation, the Institute for a Broadband-Enabled Society, which will continue to focus on research into new applications.

ABL, which is expected to leverage funding from private and public sources of up to $20 million, will take new applications through the development process and into the marketplace.

It will include a development, integration and testing centre that will provide technical, regulatory and business advice to companies wishing to offer new broadband services and applications.

This will be co-located with a publicly-focused ‘experience centre’ that will showcase broadband applications and services. The development centre will focus on testing and certification of new service offerings. 

The Australian e-Health Institute, to be established with Monash University and based at the Alfred Hospital, will support and guide the implementation of e-Health initiatives using the power of the NBN.

For the first time in Australia, one organisation will have an operational capability that will promote clinical leadership, optimise awareness, support training and education, and the integration of e-Health solutions in the clinical environment.

The Institute would combine the medical research and training strengths of Monash University with the expertise of industry partners to focus on ICT, security and end-to-end service capabilities. 

Having an independent entity capable of evaluating key economic and healthcare parameters will help roll out new e-Health products and services across the Victorian and national health systems.

Basing the Institute in Victoria will position the State to maximise the benefits of e-health for both local patients and the local industry.

Mr Lenders said a future Labor Government would act to bring the NBN to Victorian homes and businesses sooner by updating the Code of Practice for Telecommunications Facilities in Victoria and working with the Gillard Labor Government to develop a streamlined planning process for minor telecommunication facilities.

A future Brumby Labor Government will design and implement an ‘opt-out model’ for the network to quickly roll out the NBN across as much of Victoria as possible.

Mr Lenders said this would either involve developing a national process in partnership with the Gillard Labor Government to be rolled out across the States or legislating for the relevant changes in the Victorian Parliament.

He said the Brumby Labor Government had delivered better broadband and broadband applications to Victorians by:

  • Delivering up to 8000 fibre-to-the-home services for residents in the Aurora residential development;
  • Establishing the $15 million collaborative Internet Innovation Fund (cIIF) using next-generation ICT  like new collaborative Web 2.0 tools, wikis and blogs in government, industry and the community sector;
  • Making higher-speed broadband more accessible to regional communities so they can change the way they operate and deliver services;
  • Improving broadband access for regional TAFEs as part of improving Victoria’s training sector; and
  • Successfully campaigning for over 700 highly skilled new jobs to be based in Victoria at the NBN National Operations and Testing Facility.

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