Developing shared approaches to information technology will be a key element of a new memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) and the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service (ACBPS).
ICT is one of seven shared business areas covered by the MOU, which aims to foster a more collaborative relationship between the two agencies and develop a whole-of-government approach to border protection.
According to a spokesperson for DAFF, the MOU will consolidate existing arrangements between the DAFF and Customs, and provide an overarching reference document for each shared approach. The new agreement will build upon current shared IT arrangements between DAFF and the ACBPS.
“Currently there are a number of arrangements in place between the two agencies in relation to information and communications technology, such as the joint use of Customs’ Integrated Cargo System (ICS).
“These arrangements outline joint consultation on proposed changes to the system, and access to resources and premises in which both agencies interact and operate using shared ICT solutions,” the DAFF spokesperson told Intermedium.
The spokesperson also indicated that while DAFF and the ACBPS will be increasing their level of collaboration, existing ICT arrangements at the two agencies will not be affected.
“Annexes will not replace existing arrangements, but rather enhance their function and provide a platform for greater collaboration. This will further enable the whole-of-government approach to border operations,” she said.
According to Intermedium’sFederal Government Infrastructure Management Report, the ACBPS currently outsources the majority of its ICT requirements to IBM, including mainframe, mid-range computing and disaster recovery systems. IBM has also assumed responsibility for Custom’s passenger processing and border control system (PACE) and integrated cargo management system.
The department’s internet and gateway services are managed by Verizon.
While DAFF will receive support for its desktop, server, storage, architecture storage, and help and service desk from HP Enterprise Services until 2014, budget allocations indicate that developing and enhancing the use of ICT is firmly on the agenda at the department this year.
Intermedium’s Federal Budget IT tool reveals that the partnership between DAFF and the ACBPS in the area of information technology will be supported by DAFF’s $4.2 million ‘Reform of Australia’s Biosecurity System – Enhancement of ICT Systems’ budget allocation in 2011-12. The initiative will develop a business case for the enhancement of the ICT systems used for biosecurity activities in partnership with Customs.
The MOU between DAFF and Customs was signed on 21 July 2011 and will result in the development of shared approaches in seven areas, including:
- Risk management;
- Operations and compliance;
- Intelligence and information sharing;
- People and property strategies; and
- Joint communications.
The effectiveness of the MOU will be reviewed in 2013.