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point 1: Standards that *should* be adhered to. Problem is, most browsers are very forgiving so even if most of your markup is crap, the browser will still display the page, so designers of any calibre can get away with a lot.

point 2 and 3: Anyone with a qualification can also claim anything, but is there any more guarantee of a successful outcome? Probably, but still no guarantee. While it’s all good to support Australia, how can potential clients judge most Australian designers work. Do they just take the designers word for it, perhaps look at some other clients work, or do they go to a site where designers from around the world can vie for work and more importantly, see how other customers have rated their work? For many, it’s just easier to look at online feedback than to chase up references via phone or email.
I wonder whether the price of broadband here in Australia has a spill on effect to other areas of the Internet such as design. Many people know that broadband in the US is a fraction of the cost than in Australia. In addition, being hosted in the US usually means unlimited databases, more features then what is paid here. So.. many people may assume design work is the same.

point 4: Most people assume iconic brands are Australian made. In the example you gave, the country of origin had not been noticed so the quality must have been on par of what you would expect of Australian made. Is there any difference then between where customers get their code/site/support? The answer is no providing they are careful. The other thing is that many of those overseas IT people will take on the smallest of projects, a different story here.

cheers

Andrew