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Powerful lobby urges action on digital performance

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Some of Queensland’s most powerful lobby groups have lent their support to a push for the state’s political parties to do more to improve the state’s lagging performance on digital productivity.

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Digital expert Neil Glentworth has enlisted support from business, property and local council groups to push for better leadership in ensuring Queensland is taking full advantage of the digital and data technology, a sector that has created about 100,000 jobs in the state.

Glentworth, chair of tech company GWI, has written an open letter to call candidates at the October 31 election urging them to get serious about realising the state’s digital potential.

“This should be seen as a major means of connection the regions in Queensland but there is no real strategy,” he said.

He said a new government should appoint a Minister for Digital Productivity and Customer Services, who would have legislated power to use digital and data technologies to boost the state’s social and economic capital.

The call comes as a new report has found that Queensland continues to lag behind other states when it comes to embracing digital technologies.

The latest Digital Inclusion Index, due out today, shows that the state’s population ranks fifth among states and territories in terms of digital ability and affordability, only outperforming Tasmania and South Australia.

The index, which has been compiled every year since 2016, is expected to show that while overall digital productivity in Australia is improving, gaps on factors such as affordability and ability are widening for some people.

Among the groups supporting Glenworth’s stance are the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland, the Property Council of Australia, the Local Government Association of Queensland and the Master Builders Association.

“In the last term of the Palaszczuk Government they did some good things but it was mostly piecemeal,” he said

He said while there was some effort to improve the sector there was no strategy driving digital productivity when it should be seen as vital to the state’s economy as electricity and water.

“Compare that to NSW, where there is a real focus on connectivity and ability and they are reaping the results,” he said.

He said politicians “on all sides” tended to lack trust in the digital sector following a series of blunders such as the Queensland Health payroll scandal.

“I’m just flabbergasted that off the back of the extra investment in the NBN and the how good digital technology has proven how crucial it is during the COVID pandemic that no one is talking about it in the election campaign.”

Last week, the latest CCIQ Digital Readiness Report found that while many businesses in the state understood the importance of digital technology most did not have a digital plan.

The findings of a survey conducted for the report suggested nearly half of Queensland businesses believe a lack of reliable internet connectivity is inhibiting their growth.

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