Executive Summary • Australia is actively pursuing the paperless trading goals set out in the APEC Blueprint for Action on E-Commerce through legal reforms, policy coordination measures and a number of practical actions to facilitate electronic systems within specific business sectors. • Australia has established the National Office for the Information Economy (NOIE) as the leading government agency on information economy issues. The Office of Government Online (OGO) is responsible for overseeing the provision of all appropriate government services online. • Australia! |s priorities are clearly manifest in the Electronic Transactions Act 1999 which was designed to ensure technology neutrality (i.
e. no form of technology or IT business approach should be favoured over another) and media neutrality (i. e paper-based commerce and e-commerce should be treated equally by the law).
Australia is aiming for a regulatory environment which encourages innovation and growth and is consistent across Australia and with widely agreed international positions.
• Australia recognises that, as major users and customers, governments will be significant catalysts for change, encouraging uptake by signalling their commitment to new technologies and supporting the development of a critical mass of users. The Australian Government is committed to providing all appropriate government services online by 2001 and its E-Procurement Strategy aims to pay all suppliers electronically by the end of 2000, and allow all simple procurement suppliers who wish to deal with the government electronically, using open standards, to do so by the end of 2001. • The Gatekeeper initiative is establishing a world-class Public Key Infrastructure that will ensure that online transactions are verifiable, secure, and confidential. This will improve confidence in, and use of, e-commerce by business, government and the community. • This report sets out a variety of initiatives which we believe represent best practice.
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Two worthy of special mention are our EXDOC and Business Entry Point systems. • Australia! |s EXDOC system provides electronic delivery of export documentation and allows access to both the Australian quarantine and customs systems through a Single Electronic Window (SEW).
Australia has developed an electronic health certificate (SANCRT) which has been used to clear all Australian edible meat shipments into Japan since March 1998 and is being trial led with other APEC economies. • The Australian Business Entry Point (BEP) website has been developed to reduce red tape for small business. It provides a single window into the Australian Government, offering: a secure environment for businesses to complete online transactions with, for example, the Australian Taxation Office; a comprehensive database of government and industry programs and services; advice on running a business; and links to government procurement opportunities. • Australia believes concerns over security and authenticity of online transactions are still hurdles to improving user confidence and changing business practice (e.
g. with regard to the use of paper Bills of Lading).
Care should be taken that incompatible solutions to security and authentication issues in different domestic and international jurisdictions and industry sectors do not result in additional obstacles to paperless trading. 1. Major Achievements Please outline major achievements to date in your economy in meeting the APEC Blueprint for Action on Electronic Commerce paperless trading goals, in relation to: Legal environment Electronic Transactions Act The Electronic Transactions Act 1999 (web ) supports e-commerce uptake by allowing electronic communications to satisfy existing legal requirements for writing, signature, document production and the retention of documents, subject to certain minimum requirements.
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The Act is based on the United Nations! | Model Law on Electronic Commerce and it will be the basis for uniform national legislation for e-commerce being developed in consultation with the States and Territories. Accordingly, it will promote consistency internationally and in Australia. Australia has encouraged other jurisdictions to adopt the Model Law through its involvement in international fora such as APEC and the OECD. The Act is based on two fundamental principles. The first is! yen media neutrality! |, which means that paper-based commerce and e-commerce should be treated equally by the law. Secondly, the principle of! yen technology neutrality! | ensures that the law does not discriminate between different forms of technology.
All Australian Commonwealth Government Departments will need to comply with the provisions of the Act after July 2001. Prior to then it is up to each Department how best to apply the provisions of the legislation. Administrative environment NOIE NOIE is the National Office for the Information Economy (web).
It was established to be Australia’s leading federal government body for information economy issues. NOIE develops, coordinates and oversees broad policy: • for the regulatory, legal and physical infrastructure needed for online services (including electronic commerce), and • to oversee the application of the new technology to government: administration, information, and service provision. Australia has found NOIE vital in ensuring a ‘whole of government’ approach to information economy issues, and mobilising Australian policymakers to ensure Australia is a leader in this field.
OGO The Office for Government Online (OGO) (web ) is the government agency responsible for overseeing the migration of government services online. The Office for Government Online (OGO) works with agencies in meeting the Government! |s commitment to have all appropriate services for online by 2001. While each agency is responsible for the electronic service delivery, OGO provides common infrastructure and management arrangements to enable and support electronic services across government. The Office for Government Online has a coordinating and facilitating role in assisting agencies to deliver services electronically by: • Reporting on the range of online initiatives delivered by Government; • Identifying inhibitors to take up of electronic services; and • Providing Whole-of-Government enablers for the delivery of electronic services. The Australian Government considers OGO an important initiative in highlighting governments’ dual role in enabling e-commerce and leading by example through provision of government services online. The latter role, in and of itself, encourages and enables greater uptake of e-commerce in the private sector.
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The Australian Quarantine & Inspection Service! |s (AQIS) Electronic Export Documentation System – EXDOC Each year AQIS issues in excess of 300, 000 export certificates covering a range of export commodities shipped to some 140 countries. Accuracy, security and timeliness are critical requirements for export certification to ensure exports gain unimpeded access to world markets. The only way for AQIS to ensure it can provide the level of service required by Australia! |s overseas clients has been to develop electronic systems for delivering export certificates and clearances. The EXDOC system is designed to provide cost effective, accurate, secure and timely electronic delivery of export documentation required by Australian exporters to! yen clear! | product from Australia and to gain access for that product in overseas markets.
EXDOC users also have the facility of the single electronic window (SEW) to Government allowing them to transact their AQIS and Customs! | Exports Integration (EXIT) system business through the one message channel. This means a saving in clearance times and message transmission costs. EXDOC has operated for edible meat since August 1992 and is now undergoing extension to the non-meat export sector. Exporters of dairy products have had access to the system since October 1999 and exporters of fish products since December 1999. Grain and horticulture commodity shippers will be able to use EXDOC from March and July 2000 respectively. Another key feature of EXDOC is the ability to generate a globally acceptable electronic health certificate designed to remove the need for paper certificates where importing countries accept this.
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This electronic certificate, called SANCRT (pronounced san-cert) has been used to clear all Australian edible meat shipments into Japan since March 1998. Financial and Banking environment Payment systems The efficiency of payment systems is crucial to the success of every business. E-commerce can improve payment systems to provide faster cash flow and reduce errors associated with traditional paper-based and cheque methods of payment. Also, the emergence of the Internet as a service channel is set to radically alter the design and delivery of financial products. Most major Australian banks now operate Internet banking for customers to check balances and pay bills through the Pay system (web ).
In addition, financial institutions are currently redesigning products and services for both customers and business to take advantage of the Internet.
Some examples of these, in addition to Internet banking, include Internet broking and Internet insurance. These developments are introducing a new breed of intermediaries! Those offering comparison services online. Already, the Internet has transformed the broking industry with Internet trading increasing as a proportion of trading activity and lowering the price of commissions. NOIE has released two guides to Internet banking, produced in association with the Australian Information Industry Association and the Australian Bankers! | Association. Both publications! Getting Paid on the Internet and Banking on the Internet! X are available from the NOIE website (web).
Getting Paid on the Internet provides a guide for small business to the efficiency of Internet-based banking. It raises awareness of using this business solution to make and process payments along the supply chain. Banking on the Internet is a guide for consumers to make use of the latest developments in Internet banking. Business uptake General Community The 1999 Australian Yellow Pages Small Business Index survey reported that, as at February 1999, 82 per cent of small businesses and 99 per cent of medium businesses were using computers. Usage by small businesses was expected to increase to 87 per cent in the following year. Forty eight per cent of small businesses and 82 per cent of medium businesses were connected to the Internet.
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Twelve per cent of small businesses and 18 per cent of medium businesses were using e-commerce to sell their products and services. These proportions were expected to increase to 30 per cent and 38 per cent respectively in 2000. A further 36 per cent of small businesses and 41 per cent of medium businesses saw potential to use e-commerce in their business operations. An example of Australian Government initiatives to promote uptake is the Australian Electronic Business Network discussed under Best Practices for SMEs. Import/Export and Transport Sector In those sectors of specific relevance to our paperless trading goals: • Container terminals: The two major operators in the major Australian ports are capable of handling operational information electronically however they may not have implemented capabilities at all sites. This includes bay plans (close to 100% take up), load / discharge reports (close to 100% take up), import delivery orders (limited capability and low take up) and export receival advice (limited capability and low take up).
Also, some container terminal trading partners (eg road and rail carriers) are still submitting paper documents and faxes. • Shipping Companies: Approximately 75% of shipping companies are using electronic messages for business transactions. The major liner shipping operators are now offering facilities for exporters to make bookings electronically and to obtain electronic Bills of Lading and Waybills. These companies can also issue electronic Import Delivery Orders. • Freight Forwarders: Approximately 50% of freight forwarders are currently using electronic messaging facilities. • Customs Brokers: Almost 100% of customs brokers are currently using electronic messaging facilities.
This reflects the fact that the Australian Customs Service can handle all cargo declarations and payments of duty electronically. • Exporters: Approximately 80 % of exporters are currently using electronic messaging facilities. • Road and Rail Carriers: At this stage only rough indicative figures are available, but they suggest that less than 50% of operators are using electronic messaging. However, over 80% of truck operators are using the electronic vehicle booking systems for booking time slots to deliver and collect containers from port terminals.
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• Port Authorities: All ports use electronic mail. Many ports can accept electronic manifest information: Sydney (50%); Melbourne (30%); Fremantle (48% now and 70% in three months time).
In addition, Brisbane and Gladstone are using e-forms for a variety of messages between port authorities and their clients, e. g. forwarding instructions, export receival advice, port manifests and requests for berths. Sydney Ports Corporation has an electronic booking system for vessels! yen Harbour Management System!” .
It is also in final testing of Dangerous Goods electronic messages (international standard PROTECT).
ITA Australia is a participant in the Information Technology Agreement (ITA), which was announced in the Ministerial Declaration on Trade in Information Technology Products (Singapore, December 1996).
This Agreement, which had its origins in APEC, provides for the elimination of tariffs on information technology (IT) products and consultations on non-tariff barriers to trade in IT products. By liberalizing trade in products, the Agreement has increased the availability of IT to participating economies, thus underpinning the development of electronic commerce and other aspects of the information economy. Also, the results of the Negotiations on Basic Telecommunications Services under the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) are associated with reduced cost of access to the Internet and with the growth of electronic commerce. In Australia’s case, a major Government (NOIE) study! SSE-Commerce Beyond 2000!” (web ) has found that electronic commerce will significantly add to the gross national product.
2. Examples of Best Practice Please identify any programs instituted domestically or with other regional economies which you believe are examples of best practice and may be of interest to other APEC economies, including, for example: Initiatives in specific agencies or localities Gatekeeper! V Public Key Infrastructure The use of Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) provides authentication, confidentiality, and non-repudiation in online interactions between Government, business, and the community in a manner that ensures interoperability and consistency of standards. Gatekeeper (web ) is the Commonwealth strategy for the use of Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) and a key enabler for the delivery of Government online. Gatekeeper also leads by example to encourage the uptake of e-commerce in the private sector. The Government Public Key Authority (GPKA) reports to the Chief Executive, Office for Government Online on the operation of the Government Public Key Infrastructure, manages the evaluation and accreditation of service providers to government and promotes the Commonwealth Government position on the use of public key technology. The GPKA is supported by a Secretariat, which provides a first point of contact for agencies, industry and other organisations and manages the accreditation process.
Supermarket to Asia In 1997/98 food exports to Asian countries accounted for 60 per cent of an $18 billion food export industry. They are therefore an important part of the Australian economy. Supermarket to Asia (web ) is a Government initiative aimed at promoting the export of food products to Asia. As part of the overall initiative, two projects specifically have introduced e-commerce systems into export industries: the introduction of a single electronic window, and FoodConnect Australia. Single Electronic Window The Single Electronic Window resulted from joint Industry and Government efforts to reduce the red tape involved with export clearance for meat, agricultural and fish products.
Previously exporters had to send information to both the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS) and Australian Customs Service in order to obtain export approval. Because about 85 per cent of the information required by the two organisations is the same, exporters used to spend valuable time entering the same data twice. The new system allows exporters using EXDOC, who have to obtain export clearance from Customs and AQIS, to submit required data via a single message to the AQIS EXDOC system and that system will pass on the appropriate data to Customs. The integrated export clearance service has made the clearance process for exporters much simpler and more accurate and streamlined. The improved service will be progressively made available to other AQIS controlled food industries.
FoodConnect Australia FoodConnect Australia (web ) is an online site assisting the export of food and beverage produce. It facilitates fast business communications, provides secure electronic trading and provides links to relevant sites and information for the industry. The site will be developed further so it not only assists in matching buyers and sellers, but also allows businesses to undertake as much of the export process as possible online. For example, businesses will be able to arrange payment, transport, insurance and government clearance via the single industry portal.
Harbour Management System This system, which was developed by the Sydney Ports Corporation, is currently being rewritten for the internet. It allows agents to make electronic booking of vessels calling at the port. It sends messages to the pilots, tugs and linesmen and confirmation of their acceptance is received electronically. The system also manages hazardous cargo, manifest, receipt and invoicing. Initiatives aimed at the transport services sector (customs brokers, shipping agents etc) The DOMEDI Project The DOMEDI project was completed in 1998 with the release of a report for the road transport industry (Trucks Online: Domestic Transport EDI Project, NOIE, 1998).
This project established the standards for the development of an e-commerce system for the transport sector based on standard messaging and labelling systems for companies wishing to manage logistics and information in an EDI environment.
By exchanging information between logistics providers and their customers electronically, physical goods movement processes can be monitored and managed and paperwork can be reduced or eliminated. The technology components for effective implementation of these standards in EDI environments include the international standard European Article Numbering (EAN) structure and application identifiers; bar code technology; and fixed-bed or mobile scanners to read and interpret bar-codes. EAN Australia (web ), a non-profit organisation with just under 11, 000 members from a range of industry and other sectors administers the EAN system in Australia. Customs Cargo Management Re-engineering (CMR)! V Customs Connect Facility (CCF) CMR (web ) will provide new export and import processes in line with emerging industry, community and government requirements. It is also aimed at reducing costs and increasing cargo management efficiency at Australia! |s waterfront and airports through the innovative and co-operative efforts of all parties. CMR will comprehensively re-engineer Customs cargo systems and business processes.
This $A 30 million project will be completed by July 2001. The CCF will provide a flexible secure e-commerce portal to CMR and other Customs business applications and is to be available from early 2001. CMR will place Australian Customs very much at the leading edge of international Customs practice. The CCF will: • provide TCP/IP and voice access 365 days of the year; • facilitate use of digital certification by Customs clients! V representing some 150, 000 importers, exporters, Customs brokers, freight forwarders and airlines! V through use of the Australian Business Number! V Digital Signature Certificate (discussed elsewhere in this report); • use standard EDI message formats as well as emerging standards such as XML, and • accept electronic payments, including over the Internet. ! @ The Australian Quarantine & Inspection Service! |s (AQIS) Electronic Export Documentation System (EXDOC) and SANCRT electronic certificate.
A key feature of EXDOC is the ability to generate a globally acceptable electronic health certificate designed to remove the need for paper certificates where importing countries accept this. This electronic certificate, called SANCRT (pronounced san-cert) has been used to clear all Australian edible meat shipments into Japan since March 1998. In a bid to deliver further efficiencies to clients, AQIS has actively pursued the use of SANCRT with a number of our Asian trading partners in recent years to a point where it is now contemplating trials with Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia and the Republic of Korea. AusAID funding has been made available to assist the process with four of these ASEAN economies. A trial commenced with Canada in March 2000. Australia submitted a project proposal to TPT-WG meeting in March that will provide opportunities for other APEC economies to trial SANCRT.
While we are currently using SANCRT for meat health certificates, we have flagged with these countries our intention to expand the trials to cover certification for other commodities as they come onto EXDOC. AQIS has also agreed it will trial the receipt of incoming SANCRT messages via the AQIS AIMS system. The ability to transmit government to government certification via EXDOC/SANCRT opens the way for individual exporters to interact in a similar manner with those commercial entities involved in the export chain. These include land, sea and air transport, banks, insurance companies etc.
It is estimated there is at least a 75 to 85 percent data commonality in respect of information passed by the exporter to government in Australia and to the commercial sector in respect of each individual shipment. For some time work has been underway in Australia in both the public and private sectors in an attempt to develop electronic message mechanisms that will enable exporters to transact their export clearance business using single data entry principles. AQIS believes this is a critical next step to ensure export industries gain the full benefits offered by paperless trading. Rail Hub Project The Rail Hub project (web ) is aimed at providing electronic facilities covering transactions between an inland exporter and container terminals using rail as the land transport carrier.
The project involves a facility, through a Tradegate ECA bureau service, for converting EDI messages to non-EDI electronic forms and vice-versa, and includes use of EDI via the Internet as well as Internet web forms suited to Small to Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs).
Port Authority Web Forms Project This project involves a Bureau Service to be managed by each port and coordinated by the Electronic Commerce Working Group of the Association of Australian Port and Marine Authorities (AAPMA) (website available in two months).
It will be used for the transfer of electronic messages (some of which may not be in EDI form) covering cargo manifests and dangerous goods declarations to participating Port Authorities in EDIFACT form. This facility is currently being tested by Gladstone, Brisbane, Hobart and Fremantle. There is a push by all ports to be able to use the system. The AAPMA Electronic Commerce Working Group is currently working towards the implementation of e-forms for cargo manifests and dangerous goods declarations via the World Wide Web.
Paperless Truck Processing One of Australia! |s major container terminal operators, Patrick, is currently implementing a paperless truck processing system. Under this system truck operators and Patrick will conduct business electronically thus eliminating the need for the truck operator and the container terminal operator to exchange shipping paperwork for truck movements in and out of the container yard. Initiatives focused on facilitating intra-company transfer of goods by multinational companies Australian Customs, through its e-commerce gateway will be able to receive Internet communications and thus facilitate intra-company transfer of goods and promote development of paperless trading. Work underway with New Zealand Customs, through the Trans-Tasman Cargo Management project, to establish a one stop Customs process for accredited exporters could act as a model for other economies.
Trans-Tasman Cargo Management Australian and New Zealand Customs agencies aim to improve facilitation of trans-Tasman trade by: • streamlining Customs regulatory procedures – Creating a single set of common Customs data for Australia and New Zealand. • reducing Customs compliance costs for Trans-Tasman business – Through re-engineering business systems the amount of information required for export / import transactions will be reduced and use of the Internet will facilitate industry reporting to Customs on a Trans-Tasman basis. The end goal is a ‘one-stop shop’ Customs process for Trans-Tasman exporters. Possibilities for establishing partnerships with strategic industry partners and agreeing “cross recognition” for each other’s audit and compliance regimes are being evaluated. Initiatives aimed at the SME sector.
Business Entry Point The Australian Government recognises that business, particularly small business, cannot afford the time or expense of dealing with multiple regulatory authorities in different levels of government. In July 1998, the Australian Government launched the Business Entry Point (BEP) as part of its commitment to reducing red tape for this vital sector of the business community. The BEP initiative is intended to address the needs of businesses in Australia for a simpler, less costly compliance environment and for improved interactions with agencies at Commonwealth, State, Territory and Local Government levels. It is delivered through a website (web ) and phone hotline service. The website can be accessed through public libraries, business enterprise centres, shopfronts and tele centres that provide the community with Internet access.
The BEP website currently provides access to over 60, 000 resources including: • a comprehensive database of over 800 programs and services offered by Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments, industry associations and chambers of commerce; • advice on setting up and running a business, including legal issues and licensing requirements; • topics such as taxation, record-keeping, superannuation, occupational health and safety, employment, workplace relations, intellectual property protection and importing and exporting; • links to important government and other websites, including State Government online business services such as Victoria! |s Maxi and South Australia! |s Bizrate; • A growing collection of mandatory Commonwealth, State and Territory Codes of Practice; and • Applications for Endorsed Supplier Arrangements and government IT contracting arrangements. The BEP also offers a secure, reliable and private environment for businesses to complete online transactions and registrations with the Australian Taxation Office, the Department of Employment, Workplace Relations and Small Business and other government agencies. New transactions are added regularly. BEP Site usage The BEP website has experienced significant increases in usage since its launch in July 1998. The BEP site currently provides about 150, 000 pages of information to users each month! V in November 1999, it was over 200, 000 pages. Since its launch there have been over 2 million successful requests for information from users.
The increase in usage can be seen in that 1 million of these requests occurred between November 1999 and January 2000. In the rankings for the top 100 Australian government websites for the week ending 9 April 2000, the BEP site was ranked no. 6, and was ranked no. 38 for Australian business sites for the same period. Electronic Payments on the BEP In order to facilitate online financial transactions between business and government, the Australian Government has established the Internet Payments Panel. Agencies at all levels of government who wish to set up systems which accept payments over the internet can select suppliers of internet payments products and services from the organisations appointed to the Panel, instead of having to go through a lengthy tendering process.
The Panel was set up with assistance from the Office for Government Online (OGO), the National Office for the Information Economy (NOIE), the Defence Signals Directorate and the Australian Government Solicitor. There are now 34 companies on the Internet Payments Panel, offering products and services ranging from complete in-house solutions, to related services such as site hosting and project management. Many of the Panel members are SMEs. Australian Business Register Online The Business Entry Point Management Branch in the Department of Employment, Workplace Relations and Small Business, in conjunction with the Australian Taxation Office, is developing the Australian Business Register Online (ABR Online) which will be accessible through the BEP website. The Australian Business Register has been created to identify and hold basic information about all business entities trading in Australia. This project represents a significant step in promoting the use of electronic commerce, because businesses and agencies will be able to use the search facility on the BEP site to check the details of an organisation on the ABR before trading with them online.
The information about business entities which is held on the ABR Online is publicly-available information from the Australian Taxation Office, and is based on data provided to the ATO by the businesses themselves. The ABR Online will be available on the BEP site for use by businesses from May 2000. It is proposed that by September 2000 businesses will also be able to make online changes to their own details held by the ABR. ! @ Framework for National Cooperation on Electronic Commerce in Government Procurement This significant national initiative was a world first. It supports businesses, large and small, as they trade directly with Governments and with each other in a consistent, secure and low cost electronic environment. It was developed by the Australian Procurement and Construction Council (web ), which consists of representatives from Australian Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments.
The National Framework guidelines assist business in the development of an internet presence for trading with both Government and other business organisations. The National Framework adopts common international e-commerce standards so that compatible systems can be developed by Australian Government agencies to enable common information to be shared where appropriate and to streamline business transactions across state and territory boundaries within a secure and low cost environment. The development of an open trading model based on international standards will encourage the involvement of multiple electronic commerce providers. It will also foster the creation of an environment where businesses are not locked into proprietary standards. While initially devised to assist businesses wishing to trade with Governments, one of the most exciting aspects of the National Framework is that it will also help businesses to trade with other businesses within a secure and consistent environment, right across the region. It also provides SMEs wishing to take part in e-commerce the opportunity to present their products and services to governments on a comparable basis with other national and multinational suppliers, at relatively low cost.
Australian Electronic Business Network The Australian Electronic Business Network (AeB. N) (web ) is an independent, not-for-profit organisation established by the Commonwealth, State and Territory governments in partnership with industry to encourage the use of e-commerce among small- and medium-sized enterprises. The AeB. N activities revolve around: • providing electronic business training programs; • publishing information for small business to assist them in using e-commerce (the publications Taking the Plunge, Worldwide Awareness, Where to Go and How to Get There are available at both web and web); • access to web-based information and training resources marketed under the AUSe. NET brand; and • demonstrating and piloting e-commerce business systems and solutions. The generic web-based training material developed by the AeB.
N is being delivered under the brand name of AUSe. NET products and services in workshops by a variety of business partners across industry sectors. These partners include Australian Industry Group, Australian Retailers Association and Monash University Centre for Electronic Commerce. Australian Industry Group is an independent, representative organisation of Australian industry. It has over 11, 500 members, both large and small, in every State and Territory.
The Australian Industry Group is becoming increasingly active in the area of e-commerce and provides its members access to online services. The Australian Industry Group has a team of certified consultants to deliver AUSe. NET products and workshops across urban and regional areas in New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland. The AeB. N has also been working in partnership with AUSTRADE to help exporters and potential exporters in the small business sector to use e-commerce to improve their export competitiveness and capture new market opportunities.
AUSTRADE will be running specific export-oriented e-commerce training workshops for small businesses using components from the AUSe. NET workshops. Further information about the AeB. N and its business partners can be found at web.
Information Technology Online program The Information Technology Online (ITOL) program is an annual competitive grants program managed by the National Office for the Information Economy (NOIE).
The goal of the program is to accelerate the national adoption of business to business electronic commerce solutions, especially by communities of small and medium enterprises. The projects demonstrate new and innovative online solutions that improve business competitiveness for identifiable clusters of Australian business, for real business benefits. ITOL provides catalytic grant support on a competitive basis to collaborative projects including consortia of enterprises, business/ industry associations and universities. Successful proposals from the fourth round of funding were announced by the Minister for Communication, Information Technology and the Arts on 31 March 2000. ITOL projects are catalysts for e-commerce uptake across industry sectors.
They provide real business examples of the benefits of e-commerce and therefore help build business cases for going online. Further information about the ITOL program can be found at web > ExportNet Project The ExportNet Project (web) project involves developing electronic messaging facilities between shipping companies and their trading partners covering booking confirmations, forwarding instructions, pro forma bill of lading / waybill and export receival advice. The great benefit of the project is that it will make the electronic documentary system for exports accessible to the small players who can! |t afford EDI. This will be done through the Tradegate ECA Bureau Service (web ) that can link EDI users with users of less expensive and sophisticated electronic commerce systems (eg e-forms).
ImportNet Project The ImportNet project (web) aims to establish a secure web-forms based bureau service that will enable small importers and customs brokers to receive electronic commercial releases from shipping lines. These are known as Import Delivery Orders (I DOs) and provide the shipping line! |s authority for release of the cargo by the container terminal operator.
The project has similar features to the ExportNet project in that it provides an Internet based solution using electronic commerce messaging systems that are affordable to the small operators. The project also allows for the use of EDI for those parties fitted with such a facility. The IDO together with the electronic import clearance provided by Customs, are the two essential documents that importers, or their brokers, need to enable them to arrange transport to collect containers from the wharf terminal. Payne t Project This project (soon to be accessible at web ) is attempting to overcome the longstanding problem of using the UN/EDIFACT payment messages to complete the loop of automatic business transactions using EDI. The project envisages using the Tradegate ECA Internet web-form bureau service, which will allow users of non-EDI electronic commerce facilities to use the system being developed through the project.
The benefits of the project should accrue to most of the players that have to make payments associated with the carriage of international freight 3. Priorities and Objectives Please provide details of your major priorities and objectives in encouraging paperless trading and any planned enhancements of current programs. In 1997, Prime Minister John Howard committed the Australian Government, through his Investing for Growth Statement (web ) to have all appropriate Government services online by 2001. Australia is quickly approaching this target and launched its overarching Government Online Strategy on 6 April 2000 (web ).
Australia launched its Commonwealth E-Procurement Strategy on 3 April 2000. It sets two goals: • The Commonwealth Government will pay all suppliers electronically by the end of 2000.
• All simple procurement suppliers who wish to deal with the Commonwealth electronically, using open standards, will be able to do so by the end of 2001. Australia intends to transact 90% of our simple procurement transactions electronically by the end of 2001. Key elements of the Government’s approach to e-commerce and paperless trading are: • Facilitating industry and consumer take-up • Articulating the issues • Getting the legal and regulatory framework right • Leading by example through Government services online! V All appropriate government services are to be delivered online by 2001 • Ensuring close collaboration between Federal and State agencies and industry. Legal environment The Government’s general principles in relation to the development of the legal and regulatory environment are that the environment should: • encourage innovation and growth; • be technology neutral, ie not favour one form of technology or IT business approach over another; • provide for functional equivalence, ie online transactions will be treated similarly to offline transactions; • provide at least the same level of protection for consumers engaged in electronic commerce as is provided for other forms of commerce; • be nationally consistent across States and Territories; and • be consistent with widely agreed international positions. ! @ Administrative environment The Australian Government considers authentication and open standards as key priorities in facilitating paperless trading. NEAC Reflecting the importance of authentication to the progress of e-commerce, the Government has established the National Electronic Authentication Council (NEAC).
The Council: • provides a national focal point on authentication matters including, where appropriate, co-ordination of authentication-related activities at a national and international level; provide advice to Government on authentication and related matters and monitor market developments in authentication; • oversees the development by industry bodies and Standards Australia of a framework of technical standards and codes of business practice on authentication matters (including, as appropriate, promoting future interoperability between authentication systems) and provide policy advice to those processes; • provides information and advice to industry and consumers on authentication issues such as a broad ‘map’ of authentication technology types and best practice relating to electronic authentication which Australian organisations and companies will be encouraged to follow; and • as the Government expands its delivery of services online, NEAC will facilitate the wider use of authentication products issued by Government agencies for other transactions. ! @ The Certification Forum of Australia (CFA) The Certification Forum of Australia (web ) was formed on 24 August 1998 to provide confidence in the security and authentication of electronic transactions. Membership includes major certification authorities (issuers of digital signatures), Government agencies and major likely users. Its objective is to provide a forum for industry participants to advance the co-operative development of a national infrastructure for trusted certification activities in Australia, in order to promote electronic commerce.
ABN Digital Signature Certificates The Australian Business Number (ABN) is an 11 digit number, which identifies a business for dealings with the Australian Taxation Office, and for future dealings with other government departments and agencies. Businesses can also use the ABN to uniquely identify other businesses. The Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts is developing an ABN Digital Signature Certificate (ABN-DSC).
This will increase Commonwealth agencies! | ability to make transactions available online, particularly via the Business Entry Point, and help address the security and authentication concerns of businesses about electronic trading.
Standards A key to the utilisation of open trading networks is the development of the information standards providing communication between! SS any to any!” systems. Considerable work has already been done in standards development in Australia. Standards play an important role in the spread of e-commerce by establishing common platforms, ! SS languages!” and protocols which are available to anyone to use, ensuring that systems are interoperable. The alternative is proprietary systems that are restricted to those willing to! SS join the club!” and will not necessarily be able to interact effectively with other proprietary systems.
Open standards, especially international ones, can have wide benefits because they are available universally, enabling many industries that interact to do so efficiently by adopting the same standards. For example, if all retailers used the same standards to identify their product lines, delivery arrangements, documentation, etc, others in the supply chain could use these, resulting in only one system that reduces costs and increases efficiency. These benefits could be shared by all participants such as transport companies, wholesalers, grocery suppliers, insurers and consumers. NOIE has a neutral and objective role in promoting e-commerce throughout the economy and can play the role of! SS honest broker!” with industry groups to encourage them to cooperate. For example, Trucks Online! V National Road Transport Scoping Study (web ) recommended the Government promote e-commerce by mandating the use of open standards by government agencies. As a major purchaser from most sectors of the economy, such a policy would not only reduce the costs to government and its suppliers, but it would also encourage the use of these standards by suppliers in dealing with one another.
The Australian Quarantine & Inspection Service! |s (AQIS) Electronic Export Documentation System – EXDOC The immediate and ongoing challenge for the Australian Government in relation to quarantine and inspection issues is to – (i) ensure the smooth and speedy transition of exporters of dairy, fish, grain and horticulture products onto the EXDOC system over the next eighteen months and – (ii) to further extend EXDOC to the livestock, wool, skins and hides and inedible meat commodity exporters as soon as is practicable, in order to deliver optimal running costs to our clients. Financial and Banking environment See above. Business uptake Electronic Government Procurement As a major procurer in all sectors of the economy, government has an important role to play in encouraging business uptake of e-commerce. As a major user and customer, governments will be a significant catalyst for change, encouraging uptake by signalling its commitment to new technologies and supporting the development of a critical mass of users.
The Office of Government Online (OGO) (web ) is currently working on four major projects in the electronic government procurement arena: • Government Tenders website – ensuring tender discover ability across all Australian jurisdictions OGO is responsible for managing the development of a Government Tenders web site on the Business Entry Point (BEP).
While there are currently links to all the separate government procurement websites on the Business Entry Point, the Australian Procurement and Construction Ministerial Council has commissioned development of a new facility which will allow users to search all tender information on public tenders released by the Commonwealth, State or Territory Governments through a single search on the Business Entry Point. • Commonwealth Procurement Online by 2000 (CPO 2000) The Office for Government Online is responsible for the CPO 2000 project which aims to develop an implementation strategy for electronic procurement, encompassing purchasing and payment, for the Commonwealth Government. OGO is developing a detailed implementation strategy for electronic procurement (encompassing purchasing and payment).
Expert consultancy advice has been used to identify and evaluate the options for the overall framework. In developing the strategy, OGO has consulted widely with Commonwealth agencies, suppliers and industry through interviews and workshops.
• Single Supplier Registration The ability to register once as a potential supplier for the full range of government agencies (federal, state and eventually local) is an essential element to minimise the cost to SMEs when registering to deal with government. This is a two-phased project starting with phase one this financial year. This phase will scope the requirement for a single supplier registration database and will begin work on the development of data fields for the database. Subject to technical feasibility, the second phase will design, develop and implement a web-based process that will provide businesses a single location to register as a supplier to the Commonwealth Government. Government buyers will then be able to access the supplier database to obtain up-to-date information about suppliers, the type of goods and services they offer, links to catalogues, and their preferred way of conducting business.
• Standardised Remittance Advice One of the major problems faced by SMEs when doing business with government electronically is tracking and reconciling payments with transactions. This arises because the only advice currently provided to identify payments is an 18 digit code. This project will draw on existing international standard document definitions (eg, UN/EDIFACT, ANSI X 12) to determine the standard content of a remittance advice to accompany an electronic payment. Particular characteristics that the standard content will require are the: • ability to be linked unambiguously to specific payments on a bank statement to allow reconciliation of multiple and partial payments within a single transaction.
• ability to be presented in multiple formats, including but not limited to, facsimile, e-mail, and HTML, without loss of content, authority or efficacy. • ability to be implemented at little or no cost in existing agency FM IS installations, preferably through standard government templates, where applicable. 4. Obstacles and Challenges Please identify any major obstacles in your economy inhibiting progress on paperless trading in government and private sectors, including. Legal environment Requirements by businesses to provide paper documents.
The fact that even if businesses take up e-commerce they will still have to use paper documents for some transactions with some trading partners, detracts considerably from the benefits of investing in e-commerce. There are also some concerns over the security and authentication of electronic documents. The Bill of Lading is a prime example, even though authentication facilities (eg. electronic signatures and Bolero (web ) ) are now readily available.
The expansion of the use of seaway bills could facilitate the take up of e-commerce. Another example is the! yen invoice! |. Many principals will not accept electronic invoices and therefore prevent the! SS total!” business process from becoming electronic. This could be attributed to the business culture of trading nations and their belief that unless the original information in hardcopy is provided, the information could be suspect. Administrative environment Bandwidth The National Bandwidth Inquiry was set up in December 1998 to examine issues associated with bandwidth availability and pricing within Australia and to and from Australia. The final report is expected shortly and will be available on the Australian Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts website (web ).
The primary timeframe for the report is the five-year period to 2004, although many of the issues go beyond this period. The main findings of the Inquiry to date are: • While technology changes will ensure Australia will have capacity in excess of requirements in most markets, the ownership of the capacity is very concentrated. • The wholesale price of bandwidth is estimated to fall by up to 50 per cent per annum for the next 5 years on the intra-capital and inter-capital and other! SS thick-route!” markets. • The move from uniform, averaged, distance dependent pricing structures will continue into the future; as a consequence areas with limited or no competition are likely to receive less of the benefits of lower prices.
• There is a paradigm shift from a voice circuit switched based technology to data IP based technology, which is changing the economics of communications services. The discussion paper and other documentation may be obtained from the What’s New section of the Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts Website web. User Confidence One of the main barriers to paperless trading is user confidence reflected mainly in concerns surrounding the security and authenticity of online transactions. While these issues are being addressed, there are concerns that solutions to security and authentication issues developed in different jurisdictions and industry sectors may result in obstacles to e-commerce in general and paperless trading in particular. While the administrative environment in Australia is being developed with this in mind, there are concerns about interoperability when trading with other economies.
Financial and Banking environment Electronic payment systems Difficulties are still being experienced in developing an EDI payment system that will be taken up by all banks. Banks still rely on paper documents and unless there are electronic letter of credit facilities commercial transactions will continue to be impaired. The electronic payment system requires a global solution in order to assist local banks in making decisions as most are dependent on overseas banks or their headquarters. Australian industry is currently monitoring commercial initiatives such as the CCEWEB (web ) which is owned by a Canadian company.
CCEWEB has developed an international secure payment and trade management system with products such as Letter of Credit Card, Documentary Clearance Centre and Electronic Bank Reference Form. The CCEWEB has been successful in Canada and the US and has the potential to be a global solution. Business uptake Cost of implementing E-Commerce Cost has frequently been quoted (mainly by SMEs) as a major obstacle to the take up of e-commerce. This factor appears to relate mainly to the cost of traditional electronic data interchange (EDI) using Value Added Networks.
However, the move to open standards and systems based on the internet has led to simpler and cheaper forms of EDI. This reinforces the importance of governments encouraging the use of open standards and systems in preference to proprietary systems. Also, there are now facilities that can link EDI users with parties wishing to use less costly Internet web type solutions. Making potential users aware of these facilities is one of the major challenges to be addressed.
Understanding of E-Commerce The biggest barrier to e-commerce applications is understanding what it means and what benefits it can create. Any initiatives need to focus on this aspect. Seminars on e-commerce have frequently been found to be too technical and too long for the smaller operators in the trade and transport sector. It is important that presentations focus on the benefits that can be gained through e-commerce and be designed for the particular audience in mind. It will also be important to determine strategic alliances amongst players in industry and foster proactive development of common systems for e-commerce. Time Time to implement e-commerce has been quoted as a barrier by small enterprises.
It is therefore important to approach each trading partner differently and take into consideration their particular circumstances. Another barrier is the time taken to submit electronic information as opposed to their current method of submitting the information. It is difficult to encourage trading partners to change to an electronic method if the electronic method places additional workload and processes on the user. Job loss There appears to be a fear on the part of staff whose jobs depend mainly on handling paper documents and fear of the consequences of change from familiar ways of doing business.
This is a social and management issue which can be overcome with appropriate opportunities for re-training for more productive jobs. It is also a short term phenomenon. A study commissioned by NOIE in Australia, E-Commerce Beyond 2000 (web ) found that electronic commerce would increase employment over the long term. 5. Future Cooperation Please identify specific issues or areas in which APEC cooperation might assist your economy in meeting the APEC Blueprint for Action on Electronic Commerce paperless trading goals. Government Procurement and Government Services online • As a major user and customer, governments will be a significant catalyst for change, encouraging uptake by signalling its commitment to new technologies and supporting the development of a critical mass of users.
APEC economies could accelerate the development of electronic business systems to support paperless trading through commitments to: o Provide all government procurement-related processes on the internet within an agreed timeframe. o Provide all appropriate government services on the internet within an agreed timeframe. Risk Management Movement to paperless trading implies moving to a risk management framework. This will involve the creation of electronic risk management procedures to facilitate automated targeting and profiling procedures based upon risk assessment to, for example, enable timely Customs alerts on high risk cargo and passengers. Risk management is being addressed in SCCP, but other subfora may wish to develop work programs, including technical assistance programs.
o There may be some scope for developing an APEC Best Practices Guide on risk management. Single Electronic Windows Streamlining clearances and issuance of certificates are essential to ensuring seamless processing of goods across the border. Single Electronic Windows are an important method of ensuring this. APEC subfora, especially the SCCP, could discuss development of single electronic windows to incorporate customs, quarantine and inspection and other relevant agencies. o Australia would be interested in exchanging information and experiences with establishing single electronic windows and business entry points on the internet. o Sanitary certification is an essential element of ensuring seamless processing of goods at the border and APEC could pursue streamlining of this process.
The TPT-WG! SS APEC paperless trading demonstration project!” will create an opportunity for many APEC economies to trial SANCRT, a globally acceptable electronic certificate developed by Australia! |s AQIS and designed to remove the need for paper certificates where importing economies will accept it. A number of APEC economies are already involved in trials of SANCRT. User Requirements for Open Standards and Systems APEC should continue its work to highlight the benefits to be gained by users from open standards and systems to support interoperability. o Relevant working groups could evaluate the early adoption of www-based technologies, particularly Extensible Markup Language (XML).
Authentication and Public Key Infrastructure APEC should continue the work underway in the TEL Electronic Authentication Task Group (EAT) and its Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) Interoperability Expert Group and could accelerate work on arrangements for cross border authentication.