Federal Member for Chifley Ed Husic has called for a greater focus by governments on the creation of Information Communication Technology (ICT) corridors in Western Sydney.
Mr Husic used his Occasional Lecture to graduating students from the University of Western Sydney’s (UWS) Schools of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics to press the case for an active investment in the region’s ICT skills base.
“The big aim for us is to have centres of research excellence out West, pushing the boundaries of technology in facilities located out here,” Mr Husic said.
“The greater dream is to see ICT corridors open up in Western Sydney, a springboard for your talent, attracting talent from around the nation and the Asia-Pacific itself.
Mr Husic pointed out the growing importance of the internet to Australia’s productivity and economic competitiveness.
“The direct contribution of the internet to our economy is predicted to bloom 7 per cent over the next five years – increasing from $50bn now to $70bn.
“And as 20% more Australian homes get connected to the Internet in that time, the value of the net bumps up our economic growth by one per cent.
“The ability to track down information, to be more efficient with our spending, amounts to a saving of about $500 per person – $7 billion nationally.
“We’re more productive in our workplaces because of this: in 2011 it was calculated that business and government generated $27 billion in value through productivity benefit.”
Speaking after the delivery of his Occasional Lecture, Mr Husic said governments at Federal, State and Local levels should pursue and identify avenues to work with the ICT sector and UWS to locate areas within western Sydney where ICT research facilities could be established and then used to attract local or major IT firms.
“As the National Broadband Network rolls out in Western Sydney, we can use this as a platform to create long term, high skill jobs for our region,” he said.
Mr Husic is a passionate supporter of UWS, having graduated in 1991 with a Bachelor of Arts (Applied Communications) Degree.
He was among the first wave of students to graduate from the university.
During his Lecture, Mr Husic spoke of his own journey to graduation, the first from his immediate family to be awarded a university degree – something which many UWS students can relate to.
“Together we can celebrate this fact: more than half – half – of all commencing students at UWS are the first in their families to attend university.” Mr Husic said.
Mr Husic saw a bright future for those who were graduating 21 years after his own.
“Standing in this place today, I sense the energy and prospects for our region and our country.
“Because in the major challenges that will require our intellect and imagination, the people here will be at the fore.
“For example, in this room there will be those who will be opening our eyes to better ways of wisely using our energy resources and assets; those who will think of ways to move people more freely across urban landscapes with the infrastructure you may help design and construct; and those who will connect across cities and continents.”
Mr Husic’s Occasional Lecture can be found here