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Australia on target for e-Government

A recent survey of Commonwealth Government agencies by the Office for Government Online (OGO) shows agencies are making continued, excellent progress towards meeting Government goals for electronic procurement, Senator Ian Campbell, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, announced today.

The preliminary survey, which is the first of five to be conducted over the next 18 months, provides an overview of agencies' progress in meeting the Prime Minister's 1997 Investing for Growth statement-to provide all appropriate services online by 2001.

"Over 75 percent of Commonwealth agencies responded to the survey, and more than 95 per cent of these agencies currently pay some portion of their suppliers electronically," Senator Campbell said.

"This illustrates that there are no substantial impediments to electronic payment, and our goal of paying all suppliers electronically by the end of this year is a realistic one.

"Nearly 90 per cent of agencies reported that they expect to be able to trade electronically using open standards by the end of next year."

The survey found that agencies perceive the biggest obstacle to electronic trading is the capability of suppliers to do business online.

According to the Yellow Pages Small Business Index, 60 per cent of small businesses and almost all medium businesses are connected to the Internet. Of those businesses connected to the Internet:

> 76 per cent regularly use the Internet to look for information or products or services to buy;

> 28 per cent use the Internet to place orders for products or services; and

> 19 per cent pay for products or services through the Internet.

"The market will play a major role in bringing suppliers online. It is encouraging to see the amount of activity within industry to provide suppliers with electronic trading capabilities through electronic marketplaces," Senator Campbell said.

"The Government is keen to work with these industry initiatives where appropriate, as their success will be crucial to building an electronic trading community within Australia."

Further enquiries can be made via www.australia.org.nz

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