OzTech: Borders re-opening delayed; Microsoft cloud certified strategic; IT job ads down; Connectivity funds; Fibre for Adelaide; WA invests in cyber, data science

OzTech Roundup is Computerworld Australia’s weekly look at the world of IT.

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Border re-opening delayed

Four days before the expected re-opening of Australian borders to skilled workers the Australian federal government delayed the decision, postponing the re-opening from 1 December to 15 December and defining a new set of rules.

The decision is a direct result of the recently identified new coronavirus variant, Omicron, and was based on medical advice by the country’s chief medical officer, Paul Kelly.

Australia’s border has already been closed to travellers except fully vaccinated Australian citizens, permanent residents, and immediate family, as well as fully vaccinated green lane travellers from New Zealand and Singapore, and limited exemptions.

The plan was for international skilled and student cohorts, humanitarian, working holiday maker and provisional family visa holders to return to Australian shores from the beginning of December. The IT industry has suffered from a lack of local talent and has heavily depended on international skilled migrants. Universities and vocational education and training providers have also suffered from a lack of international students, who make up a large proportion of students in the country and pay higher student fees.

Some states and territories, such as New South Wales, have imposed extra rules for those planning to visit, study, or work in NSW.

The federal government flagged in late October plans to re-open the borders to skilled migrants.

Microsoft gains cloud services certification under HCF

Microsoft has been quietly included in the hosting certification framework (HCF) list of certified cloud services providers. The initial list announced in early October included just four providers: AUCloud, AWS, Sliced Tech and Vault Cloud.

The HFC is a guidance to help government agencies identify and source hosting services that meet enhanced privacy, sovereignty, and security requirements.

The framework currently covers cloud services under the ‘strategic hosting provider’ designation, and data centre facilities under two subsections: certified strategic facility and strategic enclave.

IT job ads down

Job ads in information and communications technology (ICT) fell by 3.8% from October to November 2021, according to data from jobs portal Seek.

Seek’s most recent data lists ICT in the top 10 industries by volume and showed that, despite this recent drop, ICT job ads were up 49.8% year-on-year.

Regional connectivity fund

Applications are open for Round 2 of the Regional Connectivity Program (RCP), which offers grants to build mobile or broadband infrastructure serving regional, rural, or remote communities. Interested parties in the telecommunications industry, regional communities, regional development organisations, local businesses, and local, state, and territory governments have until 27 January 2022 to apply.

The minister for regional communications, senator Bridget McKenzie, encouraged local communities to work together with telecommunication providers to submit strong applications for up to $112 million in funding.

The federal government has launched a Project Noticeboard to help communities form partnerships with the telecommunications sector to develop applications for RCP Round 2 funding.

Round 1 of the RCP funded 132 projects.

112km of fibre for greater Adelaide

Telecommunications provider Aussie Broadband has partnered with YourDC to roll out 112km of 360-core dark fibre throughout the greater Adelaide metropolitan area, promising hundreds of businesses access speeds of up to 10 Gbps, and up to 100 Gbps for specialist applications. They have already begun roll-out and expect to complete it in early 2022.

The fibre build will connect YourDC’s Edinburgh Parks facility in the north and Hawthorn in the south, with six points of interconnect (POI) located at St Marys, Edwardstown, Prospect, Greenfields, Elizabeth, and Modbury.

Each of the POIs will have a link back to each of the two YourDC data centres, ensuring failover and backup in case of natural disasters.

WA puts $2.4 million towards cybersecurity and data science

The Western Australian government will give $300,000 per year for the next four years to WA’s AustCyber Innovation Hub and the Data Science Innovation Hub so they can help small and medium enterprises in the state grow.

The investment aims to diversify local and regional economies and to create jobs.

Established in 2018, both hubs run a series of programs in regional areas which will be supported by the new investment.

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