Terry Mill’s Country Liberal Government (CLP) has scrapped its Labor predecessor’s work on an upcoming ICT plan, and has released no timeframe for the development of a CLP alternative.
“Since the change of government following the Northern Territory election in August 2012, the position on ICT policies is being reconsidered,” said a spokesperson from the Department of Corporate and Information Services (DCIS).
“Information on further release dates or timeframes is not currently available.”
The Labor Government’s eTerritory - Northern Territory Information and Communications Technology Discussion Paper 2012-2015 was released in May 2012, and included a number of high level objectives to which it invited public input and suggestions.
The document has since been taken down from the NT Government website.
The now-rescinded Strategy was the first to be developed in NT, and included plans for fixed wireless connections as part of the National Broadband Network (NBN) rollout, guidelines for Government websites, and plans for a coordinated eLearning approach and technology platform for the NT public sector, according to the Department of Business and Employment (DBE) 2011-12 Annual Report.
Expanding NT’s ICT industry and investment in new technologies was another key component of the ICT Discussion Paper, with a focus on industry growth and workforce participation. Currently, NT has the lowest ICT job growth rate in the nation. The Territory industry experienced 0.2 percent growth from 2003-2010, compared with 35 percent in NSW.
The Mills Government’s 2012-13 Mini Budget, released in December 2012, sheds some light on what its ICT policies might look like.
The document foreshadows a potential expansion of ICT expenditure to support significant fiscal savings measures in other areas across the NT public sector.
Savings measures outlined by former Treasurer Robyn Lambley include a “focus on capitalising on benefits and efficiencies available from the centralised shared services model that provides cross-government services”.
A shared services structure is already in place in the Territory, managed by the Department of Treasury and Finance. Its scope includes financial and human resource administration, procurement and IT services.
A total of around $21.72 million is allocated to Treasury in the Mini Budget for the operation of ICT shared services in 2012-13, representing a nominal increase on shared service provisions in the 2012-13 Budget.
Based on a breakdown of its operational expenditure budget, Intermedium estimates that NT will spend roughly $120.64 million on ICT in 2012-13.
Of this, it has been estimated that $28 million a year, or around $85 million over three years, goes through whole-of-government ICT contracts, according to the Australian Computer Society (ACS).
The Mini Budget also contained an allocation of $3.88 million for key ICT Systems in 2012-13, although the specific recipients of this funding are not identified.
Significant ICT funding initiatives identified by Intermedium’s Budget IT tool in the NT’s last full Budget include:
- $11 million to the Department of Construction and Infrastructure for a whole-of-government Asset Management system, with $4 million to be spent in 2012-13;
- $2.38 million to the Department of Education and Training for a Student Administration Management system;
- A new Territory Revenue Management system, costing $2 million over four years, by the NT Treasury; and
- $1.3 million to Darwin Port Corporation for a Port Management system.
Since the election, machinery of government changes have also taken effect which will see authority for ICT move from the Department of Business and Employment to a newly established Department of Corporate and Information Services.
John Elferink has assumed authority for ICT as the Minister for Corporate and Information Services, following the cabinet reshuffle on 7 March 2013.
Update 18 March 2013: Adam Giles, the new Chief Minister of NT, has regained the Corporate and Information Services portfolio and is now in charge of overseeing Territory ICT.
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