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DAFF spends $26 million to spy on moths…and other ICT projects

by Paris Cowan •
Free resource

ICT made up four percent of the total expenditure of the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) in 2010-11, according to the Federal Department’s recently released Annual Report.

With an operating expenditure of $664 million throughout the 12 month period, this adds up to a $26 million pool from which ICT operations were funded.

Some of this expenditure is likely to have gone towards deploying geospatial intelligence to track the devastating pest the Gypsy Moth, which is attracted to illuminated ports and can be shipped out to foreign shores upon commercial vessels.

In what DAFF describes as “the first true use of geospatial intelligence to shape quarantine border surveillance anywhere in the world,” “spy technology” has been used to mark all vessels departing a port within 2000 metres of a Gypsy Moth habitat as a quarantine risk.  

DAFF is also preparing to build and implement a vessel monitoring system, with the program requirements currently under consideration.

“Specific requirements for the Vessel Monitoring System are under development to ensure that the system has the capacity and ability to fully support current and proposed business processes,” the Annual Report explains.

DAFF will almost certainly have to approach the market for industry assistance in the implementation of the system in the near future.

The systems both form part of the ongoing development of a risk-based intervention approach for vessels, sea and air cargo, international passengers and mail within DAFF.

In another instance of IT innovation, the department has internally developed a system which automatically scours the web for information on the health of aquatic species. Seemingly mundane internet data, such as market prices for seafood across the world, can be aggregated and used to give early warnings on outbreaks of aquatic disease.

“The system makes a DAFF a world leader in open-source data for information and intelligence on Aquatic animal health,” it says in the report.

DAFF has also embarked upon a project to consolidate distributed imports management systems into a single, central Imports Management System. The rationalisation will also make way for a future upgrade of the aged code and technology currently supporting the systems.

According to Intermedium'sAnalyse IT contract database, DAFF’s ICT contract total for 2010-11 was $32.7 million. This is the sum of 270 contracts published on Austender within the 12 month period.

Over the past three financial years, HP Enterprise Services has been DAFF’s largest ICT supplier by a sizeable margin. In 2009, prior to its acquisition by HP Enterprise Services, EDS signed a $96 million managed services agreement with the department that will see it through to June 2014.


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Comprehensive restructure moves IT up the priority list at DAFF

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