The Rest Of The World Is Walking All Over Australia When It Comes To Digital Competitiveness

2014 Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, California. Mark Davis/Getty Images

Australia’s relative digital competitive position against other countries has slipped.

It remains in 18th place in 2014 in terms of relative international competitiveness in information and communications technologies (ICT).

But other countries have take greater steps to improve their overall capability to utilise ICT. The ranking was among the annual findings of the latest World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Global Information Technology Report.

Australian Industry Group CEO Innes Willox says Australia failed to improve on its 2013 performance which has represented a steady and disappointing decline over the past decade from a peak of 9th place in 2004.

“It is very important that progress is quickly made on rolling out the National Broadband Network and developing strategies to ensure business and industry are well placed to take full advantage of the opportunities it creates,” he says.

“If we are to seize the opportunities enabled by broadband we also need to urgently lift our science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) skills especially as 75% of occupations in the future will require strong STEM skills.”

Finland ranked number one in the world in 2014 as having being the best ‘network readiness’, according to the WEF report.

Among the key areas which indicate each country’s ICT capabilities, in 2014 Australia was ranked:

14th on “Environment” from a peak of 8th in 2007. This indicator gauges the ‘friendliness’ of a country’s market and regulatory framework in supporting high levels of ICT uptake and the emergence of ICT-related entrepreneurship and innovation.

Australia’s global ranking for ‘political and regulatory environment’, which indicates the facilitation of ICT penetration and the safe development of business activities, worsened from 7th in 2011 to 15th in 2014.

Australia’s relative performance on intellectual property protection deteriorated from 10th place in 2009 to 21st in 2014. Australia is ranked 21st in 2014 on ‘business and innovation environment’.

9th on “Readiness” from a trough of 26th in 2011, owing to a large improvement in mobile ICT affordability. This indicator measures the degree to which a society is prepared to make the best use of affordable ICT infrastructure and digital content.

19th on “Usage” from a peak of 11th in 2008. This indicator assesses the efforts of individuals, businesses and government to increase their capacity to use ICTs, as well as their actual use of ICT in their day-to-day activities.

20th on “Impact” from 16th in 2012. This indicator measures the broad economic and social impacts accruing to each country from its transformation toward an ICT- and technology-oriented economy.

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