The Federal Government’s 2017 Budget, which was handed down on 9 May by Australian Treasurer, Scott Morrison, coughs up funding for a range of big ticket tech projects that could see local partners competing for lucrative government contracts.
Among the new initiatives set to receive tens of millions of dollars in funding is the establishment of a new Cyber Security Advisory Office, measures to improve security and resilience for the Bureau of Meteorology and an investment in whole-of-government IT systems.
Meanwhile, some existing long-running IT projects are set to get their next allocation of Federal funds, including the Centrelink IT payment systems replacement and the Medicare payment systems overhaul.
Below are a few of the Government’s big ticket tech items in this year’s Budget:
Cyber Security Advisory Office
The Government is providing $10.7 million over four years from 2017-18 to the Digital Transformation Agency to establish the Cyber Security Advisory Office (CSAO), in response to recommendations contained in the review of the events surrounding the troubled 2016 eCensus.
The CSAO will provide strengthened central governance and assurance for cyber security and broader project vulnerability across government. The CSAO will work with agencies to ensure they are appropriately managing the risks of cyber and other digital vulnerabilities on digital services.
Bureau of Meteorology
The Government will dish out an undisclosed sum to improve the security and resilience of the Bureau of Meteorology’s IT systems and business processes. This will assist the Bureau in continuing to provide reliable, ongoing access to weather, climate, water and ocean information.
According to Budget papers, the Government will provide $0.4 million over four years to the Department of Finance from 2017-18 for the Gateway Review Process for the implementation of this project, and a further $0.2 million in 2017-18 to the Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) for governance and assurance processes.
Medicare payments IT system overhaul
Building on the Budget measures outlined in the on the 2016-17 Mid-Year Economic Outlook (MYEFO), the Government will provide $67.3 million in 2017-18 to modernise the health and aged care payments IT system and ensure that the Government continues to own and operate the systems that deliver Medicare, the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, aged care and related payments into the future.
The Government said in December last year that it would spend $31.5 million during 2016-17 in a bid to kick-start its efforts to overhaul the systems.
“This measure will enable market engagement, procurement and design work to continue, which is required to replace aging ICT systems that deliver a number of Commonwealth payments. This measure also includes funding for essential maintenance of current ICT systems,” the Budget papers stated.
Centrelink payments IT system overhaul
The latest Budget incorporates the $313.5 million funding over four years from 2016-17, including $55.3 million in capital funding in 2016-17 and 2017-18, to progress Tranche Two of the Welfare Payment Infrastructure Transformation (WPIT) program.
Tranche Two is set to transform the delivery of payments to students by implementing more efficient and automated claim and assessment processes and will develop core system capability, including a new omni-channel user interface, segmentation and risk profiling.
IBM, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), Capgemini and Accenture are already on the panel of service providers taking part in the long-running, billion-dollar project.
My Health Records
The Government will provide $374.2 million over two years from 2017-18, including $94 million in capital, to continue the My Health Record system and expand utilisation of the system through the implementation of new national opt-out arrangements for the program.
The My Health Record system allows individuals to control and track their medical history and treatments, such as medical tests and vaccinations.
The Government’s latest Budget also provided $500 million from the Efficiency Dividend, announced in the 2016-17 Budget, to establish the Modernisation Fund.
The Government announced specific initiatives in the 2017-18 Budget to allocate the Modernisation Fund to reforms that deliver quality government services at lower cost and use leading technology and collaborative approaches to address complex problems facing society.
These reforms include the streamlining of access to government services, with the Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) set to step in and take a greater overview of the IT profiles of government entities in a bid to reduce duplication between agencies and improve the user experience when accessing Government services online.
The Modernisation Fund will accelerate the transition of agencies to shared corporate services arrangements, and the consolidation of the administration of business and community grants.
This move is aimed at supporting an additional 60 agencies to consolidate their core transactional corporate services and associated back office information technology (IT) systems into one of six corporate service hubs.
The Government will also invest in whole-of-government IT systems to automate records management, redevelop its CabNet system, improve budget processes and deliver real-time briefing products to ministers.