The Special Minister of State, Gary Nairn, has announced a $42.4 million budget initiative that will enhance australia.gov.au to provide a personalised entry point to government for citizens.
Minister Nairn announced the initiative at the CeBIT Celebration Dinner 2007 at which the Australian Bureau of Statistics was announced as the winner of the Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO) eGovernment Awards.
The planned enhancements to australia.gov.au are scheduled for release in December 2008, but the announcement did not indicate whether AGIMO intended to approach ICT suppliers for assistance in developing the enhancements.
Minister Nairn’s announcement comes at a time of growing collaboration between the Australian government and the CSIRO’s ICT Centre. As noted in a previous issue of The Medium, the CSIRO’s recently spun-off search engine, Funnelback, has had immediate success as the whole-of-government enterprise search engine for Australian government agencies.
The enhanced australia.gov.au will be known as the Australian Government Online Service Point (AGOSP) and is intended to provide users of Australian Government services with an optional personalised account, allowing them to ‘log on’ and interact with government via a central online access point to Government.
The enhanced australia.gov.au will offer a single sign-on capability which will enable individuals to link their existing government agency accounts with their australia.gov.au account. This will allow individuals to move between websites and transactions without needing to repeatedly confirm their identity.
A National Government Service Directory with advanced search and mapping capabilities, and ‘smart’ forms that will pre-populate user information where appropriate are also envisaged for the enhanced site. An easy change of address service is also planned, which will enable users to update their address with multiple government agencies in a single transaction. Users will control which agencies they inform through the AGOSP service, and which they inform separately.
The enhanced australia.gov.au will meet tough security standards, and services will be strictly opt-in for privacy reasons. There will be no new legislation and no amendments to current legislation.
australia.gov.au receives over 500,000 visitors per month, and is growing at 50% per annum.