The new Northern Territory Government’s first full budget has provided a window into its ICT priorities, which include upgrades to computer infrastructure, the ongoing Asset Management System project, and an expansion of whole-of-government contracts.
The completion of the now two years over-schedule Asset Management System is at the top of the Government’s list of ICT projects, with an allocation of $15.6 million in the 2013-14 budget. The system, purchased by the previous Government, aims to replace nine agency systems to centralise the management of project budgets, contractor payments, assets and repairs. It is currently $50 million over budget, and is expected to cost a total of $70 million.
The budget contains $3.5 million for the NT business unit Data Centre Services for improvements to its computing infrastructure, including a $1.1 million upgrade of its mainframe environment and an $0.8 million expansion of its enterprise data storage system. Data Centre Services hosts agency infrastructure across the NT Government, and expects to have 740 fully-managed servers (up from 700 in 2012-13) and a data storage area network of over 1,600 terabytes (up from 1,000 terabytes) in 2013-14.
To manage this growth in demand, Data Centre Services has implemented a ‘virtualise first’ policy for its Chan Data Centre, to host agency business systems in a virtualised server environment rather than on separate physical servers. It has been allocated $0.2 million in this budget to continue expanding its virtual server infrastructure.
The Department of Corporate and Information Services (DCIS), which is responsible for whole-of-NT-Government shared services functions, has received a total of $158.5 million, with $28 million specifically earmarked for ICT services in the 2013-14 NT budget.
This includes $2.5 million for an enhancement of the Government’s payroll software to achieve automated processing.
NT’s whole-of-government Personal Information Payroll System (PIPS) and its self-service web interface ‘myHR’ currently services around 20,000 public sector employees, with an estimated 1.2 million payroll transactions processed in 2012-13.
The DCIS budget also includes $500,000 for the implementation and operation of a new Across Government Contracts Unit.
The unit will oversee the expansion of whole-of-government contract arrangements to deliver efficiency benefits to agencies, according to budget papers.
The Territory has seen a steady increase in the number of operative whole-of-government contracts, with 14 mandatory contracts currently in place for the purchase of hardware and telecommunications goods and services.
The ICT shared services budget allocation also includes one-off costs relating to the Territory’s move towards electronic tendering, with the development of a quotations and tenders online system.
The Government has raised its target for the proportion of tender responses lodged electronically to 90 per cent, from 67 per cent in the 2012-13 mini budget.
In addition to funding for its shared services functions, DCIS has received $2.8 million over two years to finance its arrangement with Telstra for the expansion of telecommunications services to remote communities, including broadband and mobile phone coverage.
The Department of Transport has also been allocated ICT funding to the tune of $1 million for a new ticketing and data collection system on the bus network, indicating that the NT may follow in the footsteps of the Victorian Government’s Myki, Queensland’s Go card and NSW’s Opal card to implement its own electronic ticketing system.
Bus services managed by the NT Government include around 23 regular bus routes across Darwin and Alice Springs, and additional services for schools and special events.
The budget also contains funding for ongoing ICT initiatives, including:
- $4.9 million for the modernisation of the Integrated Justice Information System, the primary tool for reporting business processes associated with various stages of the justice system; and
- $2.5 million for software and hardware upgrades of the Integrated Land Information System, which coordinates the management and use of spatial data and information by NT agencies.
The largest slice of funding in the NT 2013-14 budget has gone to the Department of Health, with a total allocation of $1.4 billion. Of this, $40.4 million will fund corporate costs in the health system, including ICT, finance and human resources services.
For more information, please contact the Editor (02) 9955 9896.