Estimates: Science and Information Economy (Patent Applications)


Mr GARDNER: Thank you for the information you have provided so far, minister. It is actually quite an interesting area. I think this is the first time I have sat through the science estimates.

I refer to Budget Paper 4, Volume 4, page 79. I am interested in the number of Australian provisional patent applications filed by South Australian universities. I can appreciate that these things will change from year to year, depending on the priorities of universities and so forth, and this Tuesday, may be an indicator that the information is supplied from an external source, but I wonder if you or your officers have noticed what I see as a high point in 2012-13 at 42, and there is an estimated result of 2013-14 of 30, which is above the target. There is a slightly lower number as a target for next year.

I am unschooled in this area, but it strikes me that less is probably not as preferable as more. So my first questions would be: do we have an actual figure for the end of the 2013-14 year and is there any reason why it seems to be dropping off a bit? I am not necessarily ascribing any value to that question; I am just curious.

The Hon. G.E. GAGO: I have been advised that the number for 2013-14 is 35.

Mr GARDNER: Excellent. There must have been an end of financial year rush.

The Hon. G.E. GAGO: I will just finish the answer, if I may. I am advised that it is typical to have this degree of volatility, that the numbers are not easy to predict and that this report reflects the number of patent applications, whereas funding actually goes to existing patents for commercialisation.

Mr GARDNER: Certainly; I can appreciate that. I suppose the patent applications leads on to those that are going to achieve the patents, so it is an early indicator, which I assume is why it is one of the performance indicators in the budget papers. Would it be possible, and I am more than happy for you to take this on notice if you prefer, but would it be possible to identify the actuals for the previous two years or has this performance indicator been in the budget papers for a while so they are already in previous budget papers?

The Hon. G.E. GAGO: The actual numbers for the previous—

Mr GARDNER: For 2011-12 and 2010-11. If it has been in the budget papers for a while then it is on the public record already, but if it is not then sometimes they add these new indicators in, so that is why I am seeking to—

The Hon. G.E. GAGO: I have been advised that for 2011-12 it was 29, for 2012-13 it was 42 and for 2013-14 it was 35.

Mr GARDNER: So, it does fluctuate up and down. Do we have—

The Hon. G.E. GAGO: There is one more answer, I understand. No, I think we have covered it generally. Thank you.

Mr GARDNER: On the previous page, page 77, in the highlights under the information economy subprogram, in one of your earlier answers you were talking about the rollout of the iiNet fast internet across Adelaide. I apologise if any of this was in your earlier answer, I did not catch it; I am slightly hard of hearing sometimes. I was curious as to what the experience for somebody in the city will be. This has not been completed yet, has it? It has been?

The Hon. G.E. GAGO: Yes, the CBD now is virtually completely covered. There are, I think, 10 more points that are being rolled out but it is pretty much fully covered now, and also parts of North Adelaide. It means that you can gain access to your internet there and then, so it has opened up the laneways and squares. The times that you can see it working is down at the market with the schoolkids on their laptops and iPads, during the festival when people in the cafes and streets can be logging on reading reviews of shows and then booking shows there and then and when waiting to catch the bus. It just means you can access the internet at very fast speeds. Those are outside buildings and not inside buildings. It is very fast, kids love it, and they all told me how fast it was. It all seems really fast to me, but they said this was really fast.

Mr GARDNER: Some of us remember when the internet came in in the 1990s, and by comparison I am sure it is excellent. You said it is focused on outside, so if people are in cafes, is it up to whether the cafe provides its own internet service in that case?

The Hon. G.E. GAGO: Yes, a lot do already have their own wi-fi, the same with inside buildings, but this is mainly for outdoor eating areas. If it is a smaller building, it can go in, depending on the structure of the building, what it is made from and so on. It is mainly designed for on the street and outdoor eating areas. Page 252 ESTIMATES COMMITTEE B Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Mr GARDNER: Do you know when the extra 10 nodes will come online and where they are?

The Hon. G.E. GAGO: They are 10 mobile units, I am advised, that will be moved around to help special events.

Mr GARDNER: So they are to cover special events that are not in the area currently covered? Will that include Adelaide Oval, for example? Is Adelaide Oval covered or to be covered?

The Hon. G.E. GAGO: Apparently it is not technically possible for us to cover the oval with this technology. It will cover events in Elder Park and other outdoor events such as the CheeseFest, where there are large groups of people often wanting to access the internet all at the same time, and also Victoria Square.

Mr GARDNER: I am trying to think of how to word this that will in no way seem provocative. Sometimes issues that have come out of the public provision of internet and wi-fi have become the subject of newspaper interest when there have been examples of people inappropriately accessing the internet in ways that I am sure you can guess. I assume it is auspiced with the Adelaide City Council, so it may be their issue to address or it may be ours. What consideration has been given to managing that concern?

The Hon. G.E. GAGO: There are issues around wi-fi security and safety. The company iiNet has special security provisions built into the design and operation of the AdelaideFree wi-fi network to minimise the possibility of cyber security breaches. These provisions make AdelaideFree a more secure and cyber safe environment compared with most other public wi-fi networks. For security reasons it is not appropriate that the details of those provisions be made public, but a great deal has gone into trying to ensure that this is a safe network