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IT grows in value to WA economy

THE information technology and telecommunications sectors now represent more than 5 per cent of the gross state product in WA and this figure will continue to grow, according to the Curtin Business School’s Institute for Research into International Competitiveness.

IRIC research fellow Noelle Doss said, in proportionate terms, IT&T was now as vital to the WA economy as it was to the world economy.

IT&T currently accounts for around 6 per cent of the world’s GDP, valued at $US1.8 trillion.

With regards to IT&T expenditure, Australia currently ranks 9th, spending $US33 billion, with WA accounting for $US2.8 billion.

“In WA in 1997-98, the information and communication technology industry, which is not as broad as the IT&T industry, grew at 29 per cent – four times that of the WA economy,” Ms Doss said.

“Demand for IT&T is growing quickly and the forecast is an increase of more than 34 per cent in the year 1998-99.”

The report revealed a rapid take-up of emerging technologies in Australia.

“In 1997-98, 62 per cent of Western Australians accessed a computer and this proportion was the highest of all Australian states,” Ms Doss said.

“Again beating the other states, 34 per cent of WA households accessed the internet during the 1997-98 period, compared to 16 per cent in 1996.”

The report identified e-commerce and smart cards as the most important global trends for the IT&T industry.

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