Federal Special Minister of State, Gary Nairn, impressed attendees when opening the IQPC Government Technology Evolution Conference in Canberra earlier this week.
Minister Nairn’s portfolio includes responsibility for the Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO) as well as eleven other portfolio areas of responsibility. Given the breadth of his Portfolio, he could have been excused for staying within the relative safety of his briefing notes. Instead he demonstrated a solid understanding of contemporary technology issues in his opening address and later discussions.
Arriving half an hour early to mingle with delegates, he then stayed after the official opening until morning tea, asking questions of international and local speakers, and taking questions himself from the floor. Under questioning, he encouraged the use of solid analysis in areas such as the size of the ICT marketplace, customer satisfaction and the growth in online service delivery. He recounted the value of solid evidence in convincing fellow politicians who were sometimes sceptical of information technology issues. Minister Nairn also spent some time expanding on the issues raised in the e-Government Strategy “Responsive Government – a New Service Agenda”, as well as the recently released Government e-Service Satisfaction Survey.
Minister Nairn promised close consultation with industry by keeping industry informed of progress as the Strategy develops, as well as by drawing on industry expertise through a number of initiatives outlined in the plan.
He went on to single out a number of issues for particular attention:
- Smartcards will be one of the key building blocks of the e-government strategy. Privacy remains a key issue and will remain a significant consideration in the development of the government’s Smartcard architecture.
- Seamless interaction with government is a principle that will guide development of systems into the future. This will include the development of a single sign-on for government online services.
- e-Government in the future will need to be spatially enabled. He noted that 80% of government decisions involved a location. “There needs to be a whole-of-government schema for name and address”. Minister Nairn then drew on his career experience prior to politics in demonstrating a clear understanding of the importance of location-based information.