NICTA scores extra $42 million funding

By Julian Bajkowski

The Rudd government has announced that cornerstone research and development body National Information and Communications Technology Australia (NICTA) will get a further $42 million in funding over 2015 to 2016 as Labor moves quickly to press home its perceived electoral advantage on technology and skills development.

Minister Assisting for the Digital Economy, Senator Kate Lundy, is pushing the financial top-up for the research house as an essential element to boost the so-called digital economy as a counterweight to offset the abating mining boom.

Senator Lundy said the latest money for NICTA took its funding to $130 million over the next three years and that the contribution was already included in the Budget.

However the government’s upgraded investment in NICTA is about more than just ploughing warmly welcomed cash into the science and technology sector.

The federal government as well as state governments are increasingly recipients and consumers of NICTA developed solutions that act to drive down the cost of public administration and service delivery at a time when pressure on budgets is growing.

A big issue for many government departments is that it has often been difficult to persuade foreign-owned multinational corporations to invest in research for the kinds of projects that agencies often need.

“NICTA is a world-class information and communication technology research and commercialisation facility. It connects research excellence to practical real life challenges faced by industry, government and society, driving efficiency and productivity growth,” Senator Lundy said.

“This funding will enable NICTA to continue its world-class research, develop globally competitive ICT products, build innovative Australian ICT companies and continue its PhD program. It will also support Australian jobs by broadening the skills base,” she said.

NICTA now has 580 researchers, technical and professional staff as well as 260 PhD students working across 30 research projects, training and commercialisation activities and partnerships that span across more than 17 universities.

A major initiative that has won strong support from the business community is the GroupX project that is working to develop a sustainable future supply of technology talent for the employment market by supporting the teaching and promotion of ICT in schools as a rewarding and viable career.

Comment below to have your say on this story.

If you have a news story or tip-off, get in touch at  

Sign up to the Government News newsletter

Leave a comment:

Your email address will not be published. All fields are required