Embracing the digital economy

Article image - Embracing the digital economy A meeting of the Digital Economy Strategy Reference Group.

Whitsunday Regional Organisation of Councils (ROC) is helping drive a project to encourage businesses to embrace the digital economy.

Whitsunday ROC, made up of Mackay, Isaac and Whitsunday regional councils, is spearheading a Digital Economy Strategy for their region.
The strategy was completed last year and a reference group formed, which includes representatives of government, business and industry.
Whitsunday ROC executive officer Heather Norris said, “We want to help people plan their transition to high-speed broadband so they maximise the benefits when it is available.

“Over the next decade, the digital economy will become an integral part of how we live, work and play.

“The sooner the community develops familiarity, the easier the transition will be,” Ms Norris said.

The reference group met recently for a planning session and is looking at opportunities for Federal and State government funding to fast-track its implementation in key areas, such as small business.
Whitsunday ROC chair, Mackay Mayor Deirdre Comerford, addressed the group to thank them for their commitment to implementation of the strategy.

The Whitsunday ROC website has recently been launched and includes a section for the Digital Economy Strategy at growgetgo.com.au.

 This website will be the focal point for information about the implementation of the strategy, including information and education sessions being conducted across the region.  

Ms Norris said the project had already delivered outcomes.
“Whitsunday ROC commissioned an independent company to conduct a mobile phone and device Black Spots Connectivity assessment across the region.

“The results of testing have already been entered into the Federal Government’s Mobile Black Spot national database and will be considered under round two of the Mobile Blackspot Program this year.

“This is a good example of the work being undertaken to grow the infrastructure.

“As a region we can’t just wait until things happen. We have to actively campaign to get a timely response to our needs.

 “For example, ongoing advocacy with NBN Co has resulted in reduced timeframes for the rollout of the NBN in key business districts in the region.”

The Digital Economy will be a key focus of Small Business Week from May 16 to 21 in the Mackay, Isaac and Whitsunday region.

“We are currently engaging with local digital champions to showcase their journey as an example to others of what can be achieved,’’ Ms Norris said.

“Later in the year we will start to focus on the community champions, such as a local sporting group that embraces cloud computing,” she said.

“Providing real examples is the best way to help people understand what the digital economy is about and assist them to decide where they might want to go and what they need to get there.