My question is to the Minister for Information and Communication Technology.
With the recent announcement about Satyam’s Geelong software development and
training centre that will add 2000 jobs in Geelong, can the minister advise the
house how the Brumby Labor government is positioning Victoria as a global
information technology hub?
Hon. T. C. THEOPHANOUS (Minister for Information and
Communication Technology) — I especially want to thank Ms Tierney for her question, because she
has been one of those local members who has been constantly lobbying not just me
but a lot of other ministers as well about the needs of Geelong and about
Geelong’s economy being boosted in a variety of ways. I am very pleased to be
able to answer two questions from Ms Tierney today about the ICT (information and
communications technology) industry.
The announcement yesterday is going to be a significant boost
for the Geelong economy, but it is not an isolated incident. This is part of a
campaign and part of a strategy which this government has put in place and is
continuing to put in place to develop an ICT industry or hub in Victoria. We are
doing this by firstly facilitating a range of investment opportunities. In fact
investment worth more than $1.5 billion has occurred in this sector since 1999
and over 10 000 jobs have been created in that same time frame within the ICT
sector alone, and a large proportion of those 10 000 is in regional Victoria.
We are building capacity in a range of ways. One way is to try
and have more students enrolled in the ICT sector going forward. More than 22
000 students are now enrolled in ICT courses, and this will receive a
significant boost with Satyam coming to Geelong.
The sector currently generates annual revenue of $24.4 billion.
That is an enormous amount of annual revenue from one industry sector alone.
It exports a billion dollars already, and we expect those
exports to increase dramatically. People may not think about the ICT industry as
being an exporter, but in fact it exports more value than does the wine
industry, for example, out of Victoria, so it is a very important growth
industry for this state.
There is room to grow, but the house should bear in mind that
Victoria has 25 per cent of the population of Australia but it has 34 per cent
of the overall ICT industry, so we are very much punching above of our weight in
relation to this sector. We want to try to stay ahead of the game, and we want
to build a hub around key sectors in regional Victoria, in particular, through
IBM and other associated companies in Ballarat, and now through Satyam in
Geelong and other companies that are in the ICT field. We want to build this
industry going forward.
Already the industry employs 85 000 Victorians.
That is an enormous number of Victorians. It is an enormous
industry, and I was very pleased yesterday to have been able to make the
announcement, with the Premier, of a further 2000 jobs to add to that total of
85 000. We look forward to this industry developing even further going forward,
through the dedication and the efforts of a lot of people being prepared to work
with not only the Victorian government but also at a local level through local
councils as well, and I thank them all for their efforts in this regard.