Special Minister of State, Gary Nairn, would be happy to see the ICT industry given a “greater slice of cake” and see more major projects handed to the industry to deliver as part of Federal e-Government initiatives.
Speaking at a packed AIIA Canberra Managers Forum on 17 August, Mr. Nairn said that Government had a strategic interest in fostering the ICT industry. Mr. Nairn urged the industry to take up the opportunities provided by the FTA, which he described as “a two way street”. In particular, he would welcome multinationals taking their Australian partners into the US market.
While the contribution of ICT to national productivity growth was recognised, Mr Nairn believes that ICT can deliver even more. There was a snowballing effect from major projects which could create local jobs and export dollars. However the industry needed to improve its project management, live up to its promises, and bring “creativity” to addressing skills shortages.
Reviewing progress on e-Government initiatives, he stated that the Australian Goverment Information Management Office's (AGIMO's) role was to facilitate Australian as a leader of ICT in government through providing frameworks, guidance and advice to Federal Government agencies.
Mr. Nairn complimented AGIMO, noting their placement withing the Department of Finance and Administration made them a key influencer of policy, particularly in Budget and Gateway review process.
Australia was earning international acknowledgement for its e-Government efforts with the aim being to provide “a new level of citizen sufficiency and convenience” through:
- Single sign on
- Convenient and direct update of name and address details
- Citizen choice as to which agencies to share information with
- Reduction in the number of forms
- Reducing the inconvenience of needing to attend government offices, particularly for people in rural and regional Australia
- Identity management and authentication, smartcards and shared services, some to be built by AGIMO but most by agencies
In relation to government smartcards, Mr Nairn noted there would be different cards for different purposes. All smartcards would use the same approach and be compatible and interoperable. An Australian Government Authentication Framework (AGAF) is under development by AGIMO to provide a whole-of-government secure and standardised framework. There will be an AGAF for business, and another for individuals. AGIMO will provide guidance to agencies on AGAF so that there is a consistent approach for evaluating risks when deciding the appropriate level of authentication to apply.
In a related area, the Identity Management for Government Employees (IMAGE) framework is being developed for secure identity managment of employees across the Federal Government.
Mr. Nairn noted the partnership between the AIIA and AGIMO thanked the AIIA for its contributions to the development of the Government's new policy on liability in government contracts as well as the recently released SourceIT standard contracts, pointing to extensive industry consultation in both cases.
In addressing skills shortages, Mr. Nairn said the Australian Public Service was leading the way with its introduction of new apprenticeships, rather than the traditional recruitment of graduates. Some 20-30 apprenticeships will be offered, providing Level IV certification and eligibility to apply for APS 3-level positions. Apprentices would be hosted with agencies on contract.