One stated theme of the Budget—transforming government—has a
focus on the anticipated benefits of Information and Communications Technology
(ICT). In Agency Resourcing: Budget Paper No. 4: 2016–17 the Government
states it will ‘increas[e] the focus on innovation and the modernisation of
public services and on efficiencies achieved by maximising the opportunities of
a digital dividend wherever possible’.
The Budget features a range of ICT-related projects and
procurements. The following projects of $10.0 million or more collectively
represent a funding commitment of over $635.0 million, and have particular
relevance to Whole-of-Government, Cross-portfolio, or Service Delivery issues.
It is unclear whether a number of these projects are in fact new measures, as in
a number of instances funding has either already been provided for by the Government
or commenced in 2015–16. A number of measures are also stated to build on
measures in previous budgets.
Various agencies (cross-portfolio)
- $12.4 million to upgrade IT systems ‘to support greater
transparency in the reporting of procurements conducted by limited tendering’.
This measure is part of broader funding allocated for government procurement
reform over 2016–20 ($15.6 million) in the context of the Trans-Pacific
Partnership trade agreement.
The Treasury; Australian Taxation Office
- A study ‘into the costs and benefits of adopting electronic
invoicing (eInvoicing) by the Australian Government’ to ‘identify the
feasibility of eInvoicing’ and its potential. No additional funding will be
provided as the Tax Office will fund the costs of the study from its current
Department of Education and Training; Department of Human
Services; Department of Social Services
- $199.4 million over 2016–20 to fund ‘the development of an [ICT]
system and to support implementation of the child care measures announced in
the Families Package in the 2015–16 Budget’. Budget Measures:
Budget Paper No. 2: 2016–17 states that funding has already been provided
for this project and will be conditional on a second pass business case. Portfolio
budget statements 2016–17: budget related paper no. 1.5: Education and Training
Portfolio indicates that the measure was announced subsequent to the Mid-Year
Economic and Fiscal Outlook 2015–16.
Department of Health
- $178.3 million over five years from 2015–16 to ‘develop a
National Cancer Screening Register to replace current State and Territory
registers for the National Cervical Screening Program and the
current register for the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program’. Only
$29.9 million of this is new funding in the 2016–17 Budget; Budget Paper No. 2 states that the bulk of the funding ($148.4 million)
has already been provided for and also indicates that the project builds on
measures announced in the 2014–15 and 2015–16 budgets.
- $136.6 million over 2016–20 to ‘support the operation of the My
Aged Care contact centre’ to ‘assist the… centre to meet the significant
increase in demand for assistance from customers interacting with the aged care
Digital Transformation Office (Prime Minister and Cabinet
- $50.5 million over five years from 2015–16 for the
Department of Human Services (DHS) and the Digital Transformation Office (DTO)
to support myGov operations. This includes $45.1 million over four years
for the ‘core operational component’ of myGov and $5.4 million over two
years for a joint multi-departmental team ‘to identify future developments to
meet user needs’.
CrimTrac (Attorney-General’s Portfolio)
- $28.9 million in capital funding over three years from
2015–16 for CrimTrac to ‘establish a Biometrics Identification Services
(BIS) system’ to replace the existing national fingerprint identification
system. Funding will come from both CrimTrac’s existing resources and its
Special Account. Budget Paper No. 2 states that the BIS measure
builds on a related measure in the 2015–16 Budget.
- $9.9 million for the ‘development of a Domestic Violence Order
(DVO) sharing system’ (the National Order Reference System) by CrimTrac to ‘strengthen
the identification and development of DVOs across State and Territory borders
for police, partner agencies and the courts’. Funding has already been provided
for this measure: Budget Paper No. 2 states that the DVO builds on the Women’s
Safety Package measure included the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook
Department of Veterans' Affairs
- $24.8 million over two years from 2015–16 for the development
of a second pass business case to ‘simplify and streamline the Department of
Veterans' Affairs business processes and replace legacy [ICT] systems’.
- $23.9 million over 2016–18 to ‘improve the operation and
sustainability’ of the department’s existing ICT systems in collaboration with
In addition, a number of broader measures in the Budget will
almost certainly include ICT components such as the cyber security strategy
($230.0 million); a new biosecurity-related data analytics capability at the
Department of Agriculture and Water Resources ($15.9 million over four years); and,
for the Australian Federal Police, a radio communications replacement ($15.4 million
for the first phase), and a new data centre ($32.6 million for the second phase).
Potential risks to monitor
A crucial aspect of ICT projects—implementation—carries a
substantial risk profile. As such, the implementation of the Government’s suite
of ICT projects will require careful monitoring. The current Auditor-General
for Australia, Grant Hehir, identified key factors that can derail
implementation of an ICT-related project in his previous role as Auditor-General
major causes of the cost increases and delays have been changes in business
requirements and scope, high level of uncertainty in business cases, weaknesses
in governance and insufficient program and contract management … The Department
also underestimated the support [agencies] needed to successfully implement [the
Another significant risk factor in relation to government
ICT projects is security. One prominent ICT academic and consultant has
operational, the obvious risks to eGovernment relate to data confidentiality
and information security. Having a major data breach as a result of a human
error, an Edward Snowden-like event, or cyber crime is a real
and present danger for individual’s privacy and the potential integrity of the
Livingstone further noted that ‘it is imperative that
governments internally retain the necessary levels of IT strategic expertise
and process probity’.
All online articles accessed May 2016.
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