DEPARTMENT OF EMPLOYMENT, WORKPLACE RELATIONS

AND SMALL BUSINESS [DEWRSB]

 

A Four Ministers

B 6 Web based programs

C Incentive Programs for Small Business

A FOUR MINISTERS INVOLVED WITH PORTFOLIO

There are Four Ministers responsible for different sections of the portfolio :

A Tony ABBOTT

B Mal BROUGH

C Ian MacFARLANE

D David KEMP

The Hon Tony ABBOTT MP

Portfolio Responsibilities

As portfolio Minister, Minister Abbott has overall responsibility for all matters covered by the portfolio, including Cabinet matters, and has specific responsibility for policy issues relating to employment, workplace relations and small business, including the Workplace Relations Act 1996, occupational health and safety, workers’ compensation, and affirmative action, institutional arrangements under the Workplace Relations Act 1996, including the Office of the Employment Advocate and the Australian Industrial Relations Commission workplace relations reform in industry sectors.

The Hon Mal BROUGH MP

Portfolio Responsibilities

As Minister for Employment Services, Mal Brough is responsible for the operation of the Job Network, Work for the Dole and the Regional Assistance Programme.

The Hon Ian Mac FARLANE MP

Portfolio Responsibilities

As Minister for Small Business, Minister Macfarlane will oversee Government policies, programmes and initiatives aimed at increasing growth and employment opportunities in the small business sector, enhancing the competitiveness of small business, and also to reduce the red tape burden.

The Hon. Dr. David Kemp MP

Portfolio Responsibilities

Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public Service

$8.5 Million Funding For Jobs In Regions

A Job Search: http://www.jobsearch.gov.au/

B Volunteer Search http://www.volunteersearch.gov.au/

C Business - BEP http://www.business.gov.au/home/default.asp?flash=0

D Job Network http://www.jobnetwork.gov.au/redirection.asp

E Wages Net http://www.wagenet.gov.au/images/index.html

F Work for the Dole http://www.dewrsb.gov.au/wfd/default.asp

SMALL BUSINESS SERVICES

Commonwealth Government Initiatives for Small Business

PART ONE – COMMONWEALTH INITIATIVES

1.1 ACCESS TO INFORMATION

1.2 ENTERPRISE DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMMES

1.3 EXPORT FACILITATION PROGRAMMES

1.4 TARGETED ASSISTANCE PROGRAMMES

1.5 NEW TAX SYSTEM ASSISTANCE

1.6 INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY AND ELECTRONIC COMMERCE

1.7 FAIR TRADING INITIATIVES

1.8 EMPLOYMENT AND TRAINING INITIATIVES

1.9 OTHER ASSISTANCE FOR COMPANIES

PART TWO – CONTACTS FOR SMALL BUSINESS

 

 

PART ONE – COMMONWEALTH INITIATIVES

 

1.6 INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY AND ELECTRONIC COMMERCE

Information Technology Online Programme (ITOL)

This initiative is managed by the National Office for the Information Economy (NOIE), a portfolio agency of the Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts.

ITOL is designed to accelerate the national adoption of electronic commerce business to business solutions, especially by communities of small and medium enterprises (SMEs). The projects demonstrate new and innovative online solutions that improve business competitiveness for identifiable clusters of Australian business for real business benefits.

ITOL provides competitive grants (for a maximum of $150,000) of up to 50 per cent of total project funding to collaborative projects targeted at delivering online business benefits to key sectors of the Australian economy. Project consortia would usually include a combination of enterprises, business or industry associations and/or universities.

In its first four funding rounds, ITOL has provided funding (totalling $4.3 million) for over fifty projects. Projects have covered a range of industry sectors including health and pharmaceutical, building and construction, automotive and primary industries. Other projects have focused on developing solutions on a geographical basis.

Applications for Round 5 funding closed on 15 September 2000, with a funding allocation of $1 million.

More information on the ITOL Programme, can be obtained from NOIE by telephoning the ITOL Project Manager on (02) 6271 1024 or online at http://www.noie.gov.au/projects/ecommerce/ITOL/index.htm

Building on IT Strengths (BITS) Programme

BITS is administered by the Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts. The Government has allocated a total of $158 million to the BITS Programme over four years until June 2004.

The Programme aims to build the strength and competitiveness of the Australian information industries sector, including fostering much stronger commercialisation linkages with R&D organisations and the creation of clusters of innovative information and technology (IT&T) businesses.

The Programme has three core elements:

Incubator Centres to assist IT&T small to medium enterprises - $78m;

Developing Tasmania as an ‘Intelligent Island’ - $40m; and

Advanced Networks focussed on the research fraternity - $40m.

INCUBATOR PROGRAMME - $78M

The role of the Incubator Programme is to assist incubators increase the success rate of new business formation in information industries. The Programme:

encourages involvement of financial institutions, including venture capitalists, in incubator consortia;

provides access to world class services and facilities for incubator firms;

gets incubator graduates ready for second stage venture capital funding; and

provides significant opportunities for venture capital funds in promising, innovative, high technology start-ups.

To be eligible for funding, incubators must be an information technology and communications (IT&C) business that develops or provides equipment, software services or content that supports the communication and processing of digitalised information; and/or have IT&C as a key business driver.

Ten Incubator Centres have been funded so far – one Multi-State, one combined NSW/Victoria, two in NSW and one in each other State and Territory. It is expected that the incubators will assist 300-500 start-ups over four years. Grants for each Centre range from $5 million to $10 million.

'INTELLIGENT ISLAND’ - $40M

This initiative aims at further developing an internationally competitive IT&T sector in Tasmania. Elements of the "Intelligent Island’ include a business incubator programme, funding for IT research and training, multimedia and e-commerce centres of excellence and training, assistance in the commercialisation of R&D, and investment in band-width infrastructure.

For further information on the BITS Programme, contact the Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, on (02) 6271 1000, or access their website at http://www.dcita.gov.au.

THE TESTING AND CONFORMANCE INFRASTRUCTURE PROGRAMME (TEST-IT)

This Programme was announced by the Prime Minister as part of the Government’s Investing in Growth policy statement in December 1997 and aims to increase the competitiveness of Australian businesses, especially SMEs, by improving access to demonstration and conformance testing for information technology and communications needs.

Test-IT primarily provides grants to encourage Australian organisations to invest in the infrastructure necessary to provide the testing, conformance and demonstration capabilities industry needs.

Test-IT can also provide grants to help Australian firms gain access to essential testing facilities which are not available in Australia, and to help Australian industry keep abreast of, and influence, emerging standards and plan for their early and widespread adoption in Australia.

Approximately $2.5 million is available for Test-IT over the next two years until June 2002. No maximum figure has been set for the level of funding a project may receive. However, available funds will be allocated according to the relative merits of all competing projects, and the funds taken by higher-ranking projects.

Test-IT projects are currently under way in sectors such as manufacturing, photonics, communication, smartcards and health care. The closing date for Round Three applications is 6 November 2000.

More detailed information about the Programme can be found online at http://www.dcita.gov.au under Information Industries Development.

Endorsed Supplier Arrangement Programme (ESA)

These arrangements apply to the purchase of information technology, major office machines, commercial office furniture and auctioneering services by the Government. The arrangements are jointly administered by the Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts and the Department of Finance and Administration.

Small business in the IT sector can assess the Government market through the Endorsed Supplier Arrangements. Suppliers can obtain ESA status if they conform to required industry –specific standards. Selection criteria for information technology and major office machines include product development and R&D. There are currently over 500 small businesses with endorsed supplier status.

The Government’s IT outsourcing initiative encourages bidders to maximise small business involvement in their bids. So far five contracts have been awarded, which has provided about 30 per cent of the total work to Australian SMEs with endorsed supplier status.