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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs   13  November 2010

IT to drive Asia-Pacific economic future, Says Aussie PM

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Australia's Prime Minister Julia Gillard says information technology holds the key to economic development across the Asia-Pacific region.

Gillard is in Yokohama for the APEC leaders meeting which starts Saturday afternoon.

She told a business forum in the Japanese high-tech hub that fast broadband and other IT development would drive growth in Australia and other parts of the region, especially in the areas of energy, water, transport and construction.

In Australia alone it would create 70,000 jobs and raise Australia's GDP by 1.5 per cent within a decade, she said.

There is also the potential to transform health systems, through online consultations and other services.

"From the beginning, one of APECs historic goals has been to deepen regional economic integration by opening borders and creating opportunities for business and government," Gillard is quoted as saying.

"Between 2000 and 2008 it is estimated Internet access tripled across the APEC region," she concluded.

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