In his speech to the eGovernment Forum @CeBIT Australia, Lindsay Tanner Minister for Finance and Deregulation, devoted considerable time to a topic that is obviously close to his heart – the need to streamline citizen engagement. He announced that one of the measures to improve access citizen access to government will be a single sign-on for all government agencies.
Mr Tanner quoted results of a recent survey that showed that more Australians than ever are dealing with government online. However, he also noted that there’s a gap between what the government provides and what citizens want.
One of the projects aimed at tackling this issue is redevelopment of the www.australia.gov.au site. It will be relaunched very early in 2009 and will incorporate a single sign-on for users who want to deal with government online. This single sign-in will enable people to access all government services or accounts from a single website, and using a single log-in that will be recognised by all agencies.
The government is also trialling a consultation blog that will enable citizens to provide input to policy development and review.
However Mr Tanner recognises that collaboration with citizens is not just about technology. Technology is making it possible to change to a new way of government but while increased interaction between government people is very exciting it requires cultural change. There is also a need to balance the risks associated with online engagement with the benefits.