Prime Minister has started to pump up the digital economy claiming that her ministers now carry iPads that allow her to play “word games” with friends. She also claims she is “addicted” to a knitting app and is currently knitting “a teddy at the moment”.Her comments were made at a technology forum at the University of NSW where she said the fast-growing digital economy will underpin prosperity in Australia and open up new markets, particularly in Asia, over the next four years. The PM claimed the Internet contributed $50 billion to the Australian economy in 2010 and that indirect effects are worth an extra $80 billion a year.
She forecasts economic activity directly related to Internet-related businesses would contribute $70 billion to the Australian market in 2016, up from $50 billion in 2010.
“That future is here,” Gillard said. “It is well and truly here. In a range of visible and invisible ways, it’s already integrated into all of our lives, and into our nation’s economy.”
“As the digital economy continues to alleviate the tyranny of distance, barriers to overseas markets will fall for Australian producers of goods and services.”
Gillard said the digital marketplace will also create entirely new industries that no Australians have imagined yet. “What I do know is that the digital economy will bring money, jobs and sustained prosperity to Australia,” she said.
“We’ve seen some extraordinary gains made so far,” Gillard said. “Last year, there were 11.6 million Internet subscribers in Australia, an 11 percent gain on the previous year.”
The PM also used the occasion to try and win support for the National Broadband Network program.
“The NBN is what the economists call a public good,” she said. “Nothing is more important to the success of Australia’s digital economy than building the NBN. Not only building it – but doing it right, upfront.”