New Premier Denis Napthine has well and truly made his mark on the Victorian Public Service, this week announcing significant machinery of government changes which will see three new departments established.
One of these will be a Department of State Development, Business and Innovation (DSDBI), formed from the amalgamation of regional development, energy and resources functions into the former Department of Business and Innovation (DBI).
Whole-of-Victorian Government ICT policy will find itself moved to the new Department, into an Innovation and Technology Division lead by freshly minted Chief Technology Advocate and DBI Deputy Secretary Grantly Mailes.
Previously, ICT responsibility had been distributed amongst several Victorian Government organisations. Primary ICT authority fell to the Department of Treasury and Finance, with the pursuit of ICT trade and investment within the remit of the former DBI, and further functions still performed by Multimedia Victoria (MMV).
According to the Victorian Government’s own [updated] agency directory, Mailes’ Innovation and Technology Division will have a dual role, overseeing internal public sector ICT operations and reforms, as well as State-wide development of the ICT industry.
“The Innovation and Technology Division's role is to advise and implement the Victorian Government's innovation and technology policies, initiatives and programs.
“The division also develops and implements policy and programs aimed to enhance innovation and technology capabilities available to Victorian industry to drive sustainable economic growth,” explains the website.
The consolidation reflects the Victorian Coalition’s long-time emphasis on promoting the expansion of the State’s digital economy, sometimes ahead of its own internal ICT operations.
Minister for Technology Gordon Rich-Phillips will still oversee these functions irrespective of their new home.
It is not yet clear whether ICT procurement policy will follow the shift across to DSDBI, or stay within Treasury alongside non-ICT procurement functions.
DSDBI will also become home to recently appointed ‘Red Tape Commissioner’ John Lloyd whose role, according to the Premier, will be to reduce the cost and effort required to do business in Victoria.
Napthine’s restructure will add a further two new bodies to the Victorian Public Service:
An amalgamated Department of Transport, Planning and Local Infrastructure will be created from a belief that “good planning requires the successful integration of modern public transport and key local infrastructure to deliver better local environments for Victorian families,” according to a statement issued by the Premier.
Agricultural and environmental concerns will be bundled together into a new Department of Environment and Primary Industries, formed from a selection of functions from the former Department of Sustainability and Environment and Department of Primary Industries.
Veterans Affairs and Aboriginal Affairs units will be moved into the Department of Premier and Cabinet.
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