[LINK] Australia 2020 Summit Response
Tom.Worthington at tomw.net.au
Sat Apr 25 10:09:53 AEST 2009
The Australian Government issued "Responding to the Australia 2020
Summit" on 22 April 2009 <http://www.australia2020.gov.au/response/>.
This 262 page document is in response to a summit held 19 to 20 April
2008. A final report from the summit was issued, 31 May 2008 but it
has taken the government almost a year to respond.
I took part in two local summits: the Canberra 2020 Summit held 5
April 2008 supported by the ACT Government and the Open 2020 Local
Summit 3 April 2008 organized by Senator Lundy with my assistance at
the Australian National University. In addition I made an individual
submission. Generally the proposals I helped prepare on improved
access to education online were accepted, but those for open access
and changes to governance were rejected by government.
The Open 2020 summit concerned itself with issues of the Internet,
use of open source and open access information, education and
sustainable development. A quick check of the government response
shows 8 references to "Internet", 6 of which are in items which will
be progressed by government, one to be considered later and one
rejected. There is only one reference to "web" which is in a rejected
item. "Open Source" does not occur in the document. "Open Access"
occurs eight times, four of which are in reference to the National
Broadband Network and are in items accepted, one for reform of crown
copyright to be considered later, one for use of computer searches
for FOI (proposed by me) was rejected. There were two references to
"open access" for reducing the period after which government
documents are accessible from 30 years to 20 years, one of these
indicates the proposal will be progressed, whereas the other seems to
say the same proposal was rejected.
Proposals for greater access to online education, particularly for
regional communities were accepted. "E-learning" occurs three times
in the document, in ideas accepted by the government:
"Expansion of online education in tertiary and secondary schools
to ensure that courses are accessible to remote, rural and regional
people via virtual classrooms, online tutors and mentors, e-learning
tele-education centres, and better use of hard infrastructure such as
school buildings for out-of-school-time use."
Overall the government response to the summit was adequate, but so
slow as to make the exercise of little value and not worth the effort
expended on it. In the age of the Internet a year is a very long
time. What goodwill the government had was squandered by raising
expectations with the summit and then failing to deliver within an
acceptable time period. Any future similar request for consultation
by the Government should be treated much more skeptically by the public.
In addition the government failed to make use of the available
technology to carry out consultation in an efficient and timely way.
Making the participants travel thousands of kilometers to one place
for a few days and then exclude the rest of the Australian population
from taking part is unacceptable. This showed either a lack of
competence by the government, or a deliberate and cynical decision to
exclude the majority of citizens from taking part in a meaningful
way. The government rejected offers to assist with an online
component to the summit.
The Government response to the 2020 Summit was issued in the form of
a 1.8Mb PDF document, in PDF documents by chapter and with versions
also supplied in RTF and Microsoft Word formats. The government did
not provide an easy to read web based version of the document. The
document provided is very difficult to read.
A version of these comments with links to the mentioned document is
Also I extracted the tables of the ideas accepted by government and
reformatted them as HTML to make them easier to read. These would be
better formatted not as tables, but given the encoding of the source
document, this proved too difficult to change:
1. The productivity agenda
2. The future of the Australian economy
3. Population, sustainability, climate change, water and the future
of our cities
4. Future directions for rural industries and rural communities
5. A long term national health
6. Strengthening communities, supporting families and social
7. Options for the future of Indigenous Australia
8. Australia's future security and prosperity in a rapidly changing
Tom Worthington FACS HLM tom.worthington at tomw.net.au Ph: 0419 496150
Director, Tomw Communications Pty Ltd ABN: 17 088 714 309
PO Box 13, Belconnen ACT 2617 http://www.tomw.net.au/
Adjunct Senior Lecturer, Australian National University
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