The Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) is working with the support of Computers Off Australia and the Australian Computer Society (ACS) to provide free, fully operational computers to families and small businesses devastated by the Victorian bushfires.
Free hardware, software and services will be delivered to both individuals and communities affected by the bushfires, as well as the organisations responsible for the mammoth task of helping victims rebuild their lives and communities.
Thousands of Victorians have been cut-off from telephony and Internet connectivity as a result of the bushfires, while the many hundreds whose homes or businesses were destroyed have lost everything.
The AIIA will setup a website to channel goods to victims in partnership with Infoxchange Australia, a not-for-profit organisation that focuses on using ICT to foster social justice in Australian communities by giving disadvantaged individuals and wider communities access to ICT equipment and online services at a low cost.
The website will allow Australian ICT companies to match the services and support they are offering to individuals and businesses who have been affected by the fires that, to date, have killed at least 181 people, razed hundreds of properties and homes, and destroyed hundreds of thousands of hectares.
The AIIA said the website will be launched “shortly”, and will replace the interim registration system currently on the association’s Web site. Until the new site is launched, people or businesses in need of assistance can register their needs at the AIIA Web site's bushfire support page. Chair of the AIIA’s Bushfire Support Steering Committee, Russell Yardley, said technology is critical to accessing essential services and redeveloping productivity in affected communities.
“Through this initiative, companies from across the Australian ICT industry will also provide the expertise required to ensure the best outcomes are achieved as quickly as possible,” he said.
AIIA CEO, Ian Birks, said the aim of the initiative is to provide affected people and businesses with the tools and infrastructure required to reconnect their communities.
“This is a long term commitment and the ICT industry has signalled it will stand by these communities as basic services are restored,” he said.
Several distributors, including Synnex, BlueChip Infotech, Fortune Tec, Ingram Micro and Distribution Central have pledged more than $100,000 to the bushfire victims.
According to the AIIA, some of the companies offering support and assistance include:
AMC Training Centre, Apple, Australian Computer Society (ACS), Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA), Australian Reseller News (ARN), Aztec Technologies, Brookstone Technologies, Computer Associates (CA), Computers Off Australia (COA), CVT Global, Data#3, Decideware, Dell, e-Centric Innovations, eGov, Google, Hasee Australia, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, InfoXchange, Intel, KAZ Group, McAfee, Melbourne IT, Microsoft, Morphium3, NEC, PS Consulting Corporation, Simple Net, SMS Management & Technology, Technisoft, Telstra, Verizon Business, Waugh Partners.