Mass ICT investment in the 2015-16 budget has seen a more modest output from the federal government this time round, with three initiatives with a considerable ICT component receiving funding over $100 million in the 2016-17 budget. However, it remains unclear what proportion of this funding is for the ICT component.
While the overwhelming message from the budget is jobs and growth, Scott Morrison’s first budget as Treasurer has seen many low value ICT initiatives across the usual suspects – especially Health, Human Services and the Australian Federal Police. Law enforcement is the only area where ICT budget funding has risen significantly since last year.
The deficit is expected to reduce from $39.9 billion in 2015-16 to $37.1 billion in 2016-17, however the Australian Public Service will continue to be hamstrung by an efficiency dividend of 2.5 per cent in 2017-18, 2 per cent in 2018-19 and 1.5 per cent in 2019-20. $500 million will however be reinvested into the public service for “specific initiatives to assist agencies to manage their transformation to a modern public sector.”
Complete analysis of the budget papers is currently being undertaken by Intermedium and will be available as a detailed online list of 2016-17 funded ICT initiatives, along with estimates of ICT Operational Expenditure by agency in Budget IT online database, at a later data. However, the readily identifiable ICT-related initiatives are set out below.
The 2016-17 budget includes $194.9 million over four years to implement the Cyber Security Strategy – of which $122.1 million will be taken from the Department of Defence and largely reallocated to the Attorney General’s Department.
$178.9 million over five years will be provided to the Department of Health to replace the state and territory cervical and bowel cancer registers with a National Cancer Screening Register.
$199.4 million over four years has been allocated to the Department of Human Services (DHS), Department of Education and Training, and the Department of Social Services to develop an ICT system and support the implementation of child care measures announced in the Families Package in the 2015-16 budget. This funding depends on a second pass business case.
Furthermore, DHS, along with the Digital Transformation Office (DTO), have received a total of $50.5 million for myGov over five years from 2015-16*. The funding will cover the core operational component of myGov ($45.1 million over four years) and $5.4 million over two years for a joint team to identify future developments to meet user needs. The team will be comprised of staff from DHS, the DTO, the Department of the Treasury and the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.
DHS will also save $21.8 million over four years by reducing stand alone and co-located ATO shopfronts in favour of myGov shopfronts, which will actively promote digital service delivery.
In addition to the funding it will share with DHS for improving myGov, the DTO will receive $5.3 million over two years from 2015-16* to support the continued development of the Trusted Identity Framework. $33.3 million was committed to the development of a trusted digital identity framework in the 2015-16 budget.
The Department of Veterans’ Affairs will receive $23.9 million over two years, including $16 million capital in 2016-17, to improve the operation and sustainability of the agency’s existing ICT systems.
A further $18.7 million will be provided to the agency in 2016-17 to develop a second pass business case to simplify and streamline business processes and replace legacy ICT systems. This is part of $23.9 million over two years from 2015-16* allocated to the agency and the DHS.
$2.7 million over four years will also be allocated to a new case management system and rollout Alternative Dispute Resolution process for the Veterans’ Review Board.
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) will receive $39.2 million in capital over three years for improvements to technology systems, part of the $127.2 million reform package announced by the Treasurer on 20 April 2016. The funding follows the release of the ASIC Capability Review, Fit for the Future: A Capability Review of ASIC.
The package will effectively see the return of $120.1 million over five years that was removed in the 2014-15 budget, which has contributed to the decline in ICT contracting at the agency since 2009-10.
The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority will see $9.7 million over three years to modernise data collection and dissemination systems, and $11.2 million over four years to maintain and operate the new systems.
An undisclosed amount will also be allocated to Treasury and the Australian Taxation Office to undertake a study into the costs and benefits of electronic invoicing (eInvoicing).
The Australian Federal Police (AFP) will reallocated $32.6 million over three years, including $12.4 million capital between 2016-17 and 2018-19, to complete the transition of data centre activities as part of AFP’s new data centre strategy.
Following $0.7 million funding for the development of a business case in 2015-16*, CrimTrac will receive $27.7 million over two years from 2016-17, including $19 million in capital during 2016-17, to replace the agency’s National Automated Fingerprint Identification System with a Biometrics Identification Service (BIS) system. NEC Australia has already been awarded the five-year contract at a cost of $52 million, including operating costs, replacing incumbent supplier Morpho who has supplied the NAFIS system since 2001.
The AFP will also see $15.4 million over four years, including $11.1 million in capital between 2016-17 and 2019-20, provided to phase one of a new Unified Operational Communications system, replacing existing radio capabilities.
CrimTrac will receive $9.9 million for the development of a Domestic Violence Order (DVO) sharing system — the National Order Reference System — and $3.8 million in 2016-17 to refresh network infrastructure and replace obsolete data centre hardware.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) will receive $46.7 million over four years for the increased costs associated with producing and providing passports. Earlier in 2016, DFAT released an Expression of Interest (EOI) for Passport Application Lodgement Services (PALS), which proposes the inclusion of an online application for citizens to complete and submit passport applications.
DFAT will also be allocated $1.8 million over four years to enhance the online Free Trade Agreement Portal.
The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources will receive $15.9 million over four years from 2016-17 to improve its analytical capability, establishing “an advanced capability to turn data into intelligence for use by government entities…”
An additional undisclosed amount will be provided to upgrade the agency’s ICT system for biosecurity decision-making.
$3.5 million over two years has been put aside for the Department of the Environment to upgrade critical regulatory workflow systems, including data management platforms and the threatened species database.
The Departments of the Senate and House of Representatives have received a total of $29.1 million over five years from 2015-16* to support the Australian Parliament House, including support for publication systems and databases.
Other 2016-17 initiatives include:
- $12.4 million to upgrade IT system to support greater procurement transparency, part of $15.6 million over four years to implement reforms to government procurement included in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement;
- $2 million over five years from 2015-16* has been allocated to Victoria to continue the National Coronial Information System;
- $4.8 million over two years from 2015-16* for the Australian Electoral Commission to enhance the EasyCount vote counting system; and
- $0.5 million in 2015-16* for the Department of Finance to undertake a scoping study into the development of an integrated ICT solution for the management of parliamentary entitlements.
The Bureau of Meteorology has recieved an undisclosed amount to improve the data and services supporting the supercomputer capability.
*Figures included in the 2016-17 budget papers refer to funding spent in 2015-16 for these initiatives.