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Premier in Print

IT IS now a matter of history that the changeover to the year 2000 happened without any great problems.

While some people have won themselves attention claiming the whole Y2K issue was a con, I have no doubt the planning and preparation put into safeguarding our systems was time and money well spent.

The investment in updating our information technology systems needs to be ongoing.

One of the bonuses that came out of the focus on the Y2K bug, however, is the incredible awareness of just how much we rely on technology in our day-to-day routines.

Technology is driving huge changes in how we live and work.

Because of this, I believe it is vital that, as this State grows, all Western Australians are able to share in the

technology benefits.



THE importance of this was a key element of my message in the opening address of the University of Western Australia’s 72nd Summer School on 6 January.

Governments in western democracies have, quite rightly, seen it as their responsibility to make sure most people have access to services such as water, sewerage, electricity, public transport, health services and education.

Today’s challenge is to make sure the technology revolution is accessible to all.

We have a responsibility to ensure all Western Australians have access to this technology and are taught how to use it.

We do not want technology ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’.

Our goal as a government is to build a partnership between government, the private sector and individuals to achieve the vision in which all Western Australians can join and benefit in the digital revolution.

We want all homes to be able to be online regardless of their location or financial circumstances.



I SEE four main phases to implement a strategy for this.

The first phase is already in operation, with our schools being equipped with the latest technology and teachers being trained in its use.

The second phase involves educating parents and other age groups to use the technology.

In the next phase we want to ensure homes are online and occupants have access to training. Obviously there are financial issues with this and these will need to be addressed.

The fourth phase of the strategy will have as many government and private sector services online in a user-friendly way for the householder.

There are enormous benefits ahead for all of us in developing our use of technology.

These range from massive benefits in its use as an information service and a business and education tool, to helping to break down the loneliness barriers for many people on their own.

Giving all Western Australians a chance to share in the benefits of the digital revolution is a great challenge and one that we have to meet.

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