Aug 312012
how well are australia's cities and towns prepared for the digital economy

I don’t normally post media releases onto the site, but it appears there’s no posting of the Google eTowns announcement. As I’m writing a story for Technology Spectator on it, here’s the release.

One thing that leaps out when reading the media reports on this is how many outlets just copy and paste. Only the Fairfax entertainment reporter went to the effort of rewriting the release and adding some additional context. You have to wonder how long ‘churnalism’ can survive given readers are onto this laziness.




Perth wins top spot in Google’s eTown Awards

Western Australia capital beats out eastern states as centre of digital boom

Perth leads the list of Australia’s top 10 eTowns, Google announced today. This new Google award recognises and ranks those communities which are outpacing the rest of the country in having its small businesses use the web to connect with customers and grow.

The web is transforming all businesses in Australia, not just those typically considered to be “Internet businesses”. The digital economy is already worth as much as Australia’s iron ore exports, according to Deloitte Access Economics, and it’s forecast to grow by $20 billion to $70 billion by 2016.

To provide a snapshot of this vital economic activity, Google looked at more than 600 local government areas to analyse which communities are contributing the most to the digital economy. The top 5 metropolitan and top 5 regional eTowns for 2012 are:


  1. City of Perth, WA
  2. City of Yarra, VIC
  3. City of Adelaide, SA
  4. North Sydney, NSW
  5. Ryde, NSW

  1. Byron Shire, NSW
  2. Meander Valley, TAS
  3. Cessnock, NSW
  4. Wingecarribee Shire, NSW
  5. Scenic Rim Regional Council, QLD

Federal Small Business Minister Brendan O’Connor, who is launching the inaugural eTown Awards at an event in West Perth today, said;

“The digital economy is fuelling Australia’s economic growth and it’s important businesses of every size are well equipped to take advantage of the potential.  I hope this award encourages other small businesses to get online to connect with people who are actively looking for their products and services.”

Perth’s Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi said, “Perth may be known for its mining boom but this award shows that our businesses are actively grabbing hold of the digital boom. The City of Perth is proud of its eTown Award and I am delighted to represent an area whose businesses are so connected with both their local community and the entire world thanks to the web.”

Online advertising is a growing phenomenon and Google, through its online advertising and other services, is in a good position to act as a barometer for the strength of this commercial activity – particularly in small businesses. To come up with the eTown Awards list, Google analysed data on the number of local businesses in each local government area which are advertising with Google AdWords and/or have created a free website using Google and MYOB’s Getting Aussie Business Online initiative.

Byron Shire, home to the popular holiday destination, leads the regional eTowns list with a high proportion of accommodation, recreational hire and tours providers using the web to drive their businesses.

Claire Hatton, Head of Local Business for Google Australia said, “The eTown Award winners show that anyone anywhere can reap the benefits of the digital economy. These days being on the web is as important as having a phone. Australians expect to be able to seek out products and services online, and local businesses need to be found to compete.”

For more information about the eTown Award winners and for case studies on how local businesses are succeeding online and driving economic growth, visit [NB: website will be available after embargo lifts].

Media are invited to attend the announcement of the eTown Awards with the Minister for Small Business, Perth’s Lord Mayor and Google Australia.

Local businesses located in each eTown may be available for interviews.

Thursday, 30th August at 2:00pm – 3:00pm
The Yoga Space
Shop 11, Seasons Arcade,
1251 Hay Street, West Perth.

To RSVP to the event or for interviews please contact:


Notes to Editors

  1. AdWords is Google’s online advertising system which enables businesses of all sizes to advertise relevant text ads next to Google search results. Businesses decide the text and their budget and only get charged when someone clicks on their ad.
  2. The Google eTown award top ten list was created by comparing the number of small and medium sized enterprises that used AdWords in each local government area and/or have created a website using Google/MYOB’s Getting Aussie Business Online. The results have been normalised for the relative population of each LGA.

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