Leading nonprofit technology organisation Connecting Up Australia (CUA) has slammed the Rudd Government’s plan for the digital economy released this week.
CUA CEO Doug Jacquier said: “Senator Conroy calls this a 'roadmap for Australia’s Digital Economy Future' but for the nonprofit and charity sector it’s simply a dead end. In over 100 pages the nonprofit sector, employer of over 600,000 Australians, gets not a single mention.
"We can only assume that Senator Conroy and the Government don’t regard Australia’s 700,000 nonprofits, of whom 35,000 are employers, as worthy of any consideration.”
CUA conducts the national conference on nonprofit technology, the Australian community technology awards, and the DonorTec technology donation program. CUA’s submission to the policy development process argued for:
- Recognition of the importance of the charitable and nonprofit sector in the Australian economy generally and in the digital economy specifically.
- Effective representation of the nonprofit 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 nonprofit 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 no doubt all very worthy. 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,” Mr. Jacquier said.
“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.”
CUA proposes the following strategies Government should support and fund immediately:
- Map the existing and required technology needs and support required by nonprofits in urban and regional Australia.
- Develop systems for endorsement of suppliers of technology services to nonprofits.
- 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 nonprofit sector he supported their technology aspirations,” Mr. 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.”
For further comment:
Doug Jacquier, CEO, Connecting Up Australia 08 8122 2752 (direct); 0408955541 (mobile); [email protected]
Links to Government Report
Connecting Up Australia
Connecting Up Australia (CUA) is a nonprofit organisation focused on information and communication technologies (ICT) and their use in the nonprofit sector. We operate the DonorTec ( www.donortec.com.au ) and TechSoup new Zealand ( www.techsoup.net.nz ) technology donation channel to Australian and New Zealand nonprofits, which in the past two years has delivered over $50m in technology savings to Australian charities and nonprofits.
We conduct Australia’s only national conference on ICT in the nonprofit sector Connecting Up ( www.connectingup.org/conference ) and we conduct the annual Australian Community ICT Awards http://www.donortec.com.au/Community-ict-award-09 .
P: 08 8121 5264
M: 0414 69 70 71