3rd May 2005

Teleworking is a multi-million dollar untapped resource that Australian governments and corporations can no longer ignore, says QUT leading Information Technology researcher Neville Meyers.

Dr Meyers and other QUT researchers met with a newly-established federal government taskforce this month to brainstorm ideas on why more Australians don't telework.

The Australian Telework Advisory Committee, set up in March by Federal Information Technology Minister Helen Coonan, is visiting Brisbane on the first leg of a nationwide tour to investigate the use of technology to allow more staff to work from home.

Telework lets employees work independently of their primary work site by phone or internet.

Dr Meyers, who has researched the topic in Australia, US and Europe over the past decade, said the visit was a major step toward the issue being taken seriously.

"It's ridiculous that we have 60 percent of the workforce driving to work just to send an email to the person sitting next to them," he said.

Dr Meyers said telework offered opportunities to help prevent traffic snarls and ease the current skills shortage as well as boost overall employment.

"Brisbane is right in the middle of the fastest-growing population belt in Australia and no amount of new roads or new infrastructure is going to solve the problem completely," he said.

"But teleworking is one possible solution. And the strategies that we develop here at QUT could help Victoria, South Australia and other states," he said.

He also suggested large corporations be given tax incentives to enact more flexible work practices.

Contact: Janne Rayner, QUT Media 3864 2361 or Dr Neville Meyers, QUT Senior Lecturer, School of Information Systems, Faculty of Information Technology, 07 3864 1926.

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