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$10m school administration system headlines ACT Budget

by Justin Hendry •
Free resource

Topics: Software; IT Services; ICT Strategy; Digital Transformation; Data Analytics; ACT.

The Education Directorate has received the lion’s share of new funding for ICT initiatives for a second consecutive year, in a territory budget that focuses on infrastructure investment over short-term budget repair.

Chief Minister and Treasurer Andrew Barr handed down the 2016-17 Budget on Tuesday 7 June 2016. The budget projects that the territory’s net debt will increase over the next three years due to high government capital expenditure, before stabilising and declining in 2019-20.

$10 million will be provided to the Education Directorate over three years, including $3.8 million in 2016-17, for a new digital school administration system to simplify and streamline the processes. The new system will:

  • Improve the online enrolment experience by introducing ‘tell us once’ capabilities;
  • reduce the number of paper forms in use by enabling parents and guardians to submit digital permission slips, consent forms, and payments;
  • report attendance online and alert parents and guardians of absences;
  • provide digital student academic reports; and
  • automate administrative workflows.

This new funding complements the $24 million in capital allocated in the 2015-16 budget to modernise school ICT infrastructure between 2015-16 and 2018-19. This schedule has been revised in the 2016-17 Budget, with $25.2 million now being allocated to the program between 2016-17 and 2019-20.

The Chief Minister, Treasury and Economic Development Directorate will receive $0.3 million in 2016-17 to trial a whole-of-government (WofG) data storage and analytics capability to “improve ease of access to data, allow for advanced data science and analytical capabilities, and create a data repository to collect business systems data from across the ACT government”.

A further $0.6 million over two years will be invested in a software tool to record and analyse all changes to government databases in real time to improve information security.

The directorate will also be provided with $1.9 million in 2016-17 to automate the long service leave applications of government employees, $1.2 million in 2016-17 to upgrade the traffic camera infringement notices system’s software and improve revenue collection, and $2.5 million over two years to upgrade the business system used by Access Canberra for liquor industry licensing applications and renewals.

The Justice and Community Safety Directorate will receive a further $5.2 million over two years for ACT Corrective Services (ACTCS) to develop an information management system. The initiative, which will be used to improve offender and detainee management and reporting, previously received $2.6 million in the 2015-16 budget.

$2.7 million has also been allocated to the directorate to replace ACTCS’s existing analogue radio system with new digital infrastructure. The new system will connect to the Territory Radio Network (TRN) system, which received $14.6 million over three years in the 2015-16 Budget.

$3 million will be provided to the Transport Canberra and City Services Directorate in 2016-17 for a new integrated bus and light rail ticketing system. This will include “completing a pathway study for ticketing and a procurement for value-add machines to develop an integrated ticketing system”, according to budget documents. $1.1 million has also been allocated to improve the self-service check out and access systems at ACT libraries.

$6.6 million over two years will be spent through Confident and Business Ready: Building on Our Strengths, the territory’s business development strategy. This will include funds earmarked for CSIRO’s data innovation group Data61 and for the Canberra Innovation Network.

Other new initiatives for 2016-17 include:

  • $1.2 million for the Environment and Planning Directorate to replace TRN radios used by Parks and Conservation Services over two years;
  • $0.4 million for the Environment and Planning Directorate to perform a scoping study on the Spatial Data Management System in 2016-17;
  • $0.8 million for the Health Directorate to improve the Drugs and Poisons Information System and the ACT Notifiable Diseases Database over two years; and
  • $0.9 million in seed funding for the Chief Digital Officer to investigate and implement more efficient ICT systems across government, with expected short-term savings of $0.5 million.

The government has also revised funding levels for the new client management system for Child and Youth Protection Services (Community Services Directorate), moving the $1.2 million investment originally scheduled for 2015-16 to 2016-17. The system will “improve statutory compliance, record keeping compliance and achieve efficiencies through the removal of excessive administrative burden”.

Intermedium will release its detailed list of 2016-17 funded ICT initiatives along with agency-by-agency estimates of ICT Operational Expenditure in its Budget IT online database at a later date.

Related Articles:

Schools receive $24 million in ACT Budget to upgrade ICT

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