[This article was first published in Crikey on Wednesday, based on Senator Conroy’s keynote speech to the Digital Economy Forum. See below for updates.]
“The Rudd Government is focused on creating a platform for economic growth and is committed to leading and growing our digital economy,” generalised Senator Stephen Conroy as he opened the Digital Economy Forum in Melbourne [on Wednesday morning].
His keynote speech regurgitated budget promises, generously sprinkled with doubleplusgood words about “encouraging” figures and “driving innovation”.
Uh oh. A “Digital Economy Forum”? Already I’m seeing blokes in suits jostling for room at the trough of government largesse. So who’s at this all-day talkfest? Aha! The CEO of Fairfax Digital; reps from Cisco, Google and Intel; a past president of the Australian Computer Society, the CEO of the Australian Internet Industry Association (which overwhelmingly represents big players); the Research Director for Ovum (presumably representing their big clients)… all the usual suspects.
But if the government is truly committed to supporting innovation and economic growth, where’s the involvement from small business?