Survey shows our nation's IT standings slip to new low

AUSTRALIA is slipping behind its key competitors in terms of utilising information technology, an international survey has found.

The 2013 Global Information Technology Survey of businesses in 144 countries - produced by the World Economic Forum, in conjunction with the Australian Industry Group - had Australia in 18th place in terms of the availability, usage, and impacts of information technologies.

Australia's IT standing has slipped dramatically in the past decade. It has fallen from ninth in 2004.

In terms of IT usage, the international ranking for usage by the Australian community is 15th, by government 19th and by business a disappointing 25th.

"In a week when broadband policy has been the focus of much needed debate ... this reinforces both the need for high speed ubiquitous broadband but importantly, the critical need to invest in lifting the skills needed to gain the greatest benefit from this infrastructure," AIG chief executive Innes Willox said.

Mr Willox said there was signs Australia was getting some of the IT basics right, with it ranking 5th for installation of anti-piracy software; 6th for secure internet servers per million of population; 6th for the intensity of competition in local markets; 9th for government online services, and; 9th for internet sales to consumers by business.

But on measures of government procurement and promotion of IT, Australia slipped to 58th for government procurement of advanced technologies, down from 36th in 2010-11; 46th for ICT use and government efficiency, down from 31st in 2010-11, and; 39th for government success in ICT promotion, down from 32nd in 2010-11.

"In this election year, businesses are looking to all sides of politics for policies that support the rollout of high-speed broadband infrastructure and invest in the capabilities of the community and businesses to take advantage of it. These results highlight why those policies are so crucial," Mr Willox said.

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