It was fitting that Harvey Stockbridge, Managing Director Hannover Fairs Australia, commenced CeBIT Australia 2017 by taking a moment to commend its relocation to the beautiful new International Convention Centre. He acknowledged, ‘the rebuild of the ICC is a landmark project for the NSW government.’
The new surrounds reflect the verve and excitement of this year’s line-up and the energy and vigour in the wider Australian start-up and technology industry. All three keynote speakers, Senator The Hon. Arthur Sinodinos, Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, Australian Government, The Hon. Matt Kean MP, Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation NSW Government, and Councillor Jess Scully from the City of Sydney (filling in for Lord Mayor Clover Moore) recognised the ongoing contribution of the tech and start-up sector as crucial in creating a robust economy, creating a more secure future and improving the life of Australian citizens.
Senator The Hon Arthur Sinodinos AO
All three also acknowledged that progress doesn’t come without challenges, but as Senator Sinodinos noted ‘our role as a government isn’t to stop change, it’s to facilitate change and to spread those opportunities to the wider community.’ Citing Winston Churchill, he acknowledged that ‘governments needed to see the opportunity in every challenge.’
Collaboration was offered as a key way to meet these challenges, between technology sectors, industry and government. Minister Kean noted that cybercrime, for example, ‘is changing in frequency, diversity and complexity.’ To that end, the NSW police force are working closely with both Australian and international partners to understand and ultimately end it.
The Hon Matt Kean MP
At a Federal Level Sinodinos spoke of the government’s cybersecurity program focused on both building up resilience and developing an industry development strategy. He said, ‘we are very serious about promoting our role in cybersecurity. We want to be the best in the world. My point is simply this, we want to be the best in the world so we can best build on our existing capabilities.’
Councillor Jess Scully
The keynote speakers also spoke to the achievements of the Australian tech community. Councillor Scully noted, that Sydney is becoming known as a start-up hub. She cited that Sydney contributes heavily to the region’s ‘innovation economy’ with Sydney being home to a third tech and start-up companies in Australia, leading world class developments in quantum computing and being a leader in the FinTech space. If Sydney wants to continue to innovate, Councillor Scully noted that it was vital to ensure that technological advances needed to be ‘human-centric’. She said, ‘As each advantage and opportunity are accelerated, we can redesign the world to be more inclusive. To achieve this, we need to prioritise humans, and think about the user experience of our cities.’
Ultimately all noted that industry events like CeBIT Australia are so vital because they provide critical insight into how Australia can create technology that focuses on improving the everyday lives of Australians.