The 2012-13 Federal Budget has defied expectations by outlining up to $1 billion worth of new ICT initiative funding, according to Intermedium’s first comprehensive tally after a week of number crunching.
Despite pressure to achieve a self-imposed surplus goal, the Labor Government has provided more new initiative ICT funding to its agencies in the 2012-12 Budget than it did in the previous year. In 2011-12 just $733.6 million worth of new ICT capital and expenditure initiatives were outlined the Budget (including the estimated ICT components of larger projects which also had non-ICT components).
In 2011-12, more than half of this figure went to the Department of Human Services (DHS), which received $531 million for the back-office integration of Medicare, Centrelink and DHS IT infrastructure, leaving just under $200 million in new initiative funding across all other budget-funded agencies.
The full extent of new funding in the 2012-13 Budget, however, will only become apparent when the breakdown of IT and non-IT expenditure associated with the implementation of SuperStream reforms becomes clearer.
The SuperStream program will cover a raft of measures to improve back-office operations to aid the efficiency of Australia’s superannuation system, including regulatory changes and data standardisation as well as IT upgrades.
If the majority of the $467.1 million allocated over seven years goes towards improving back office systems and IT infrastructure at the ATO, then the sum of new ICT funding in the latest Budget settles at around $1.2 billion, much higher than 2011-12 but still well short of the 2010-11 figure of $1.8 billion.
If a more conservative estimate of the package of reforms is taken, which assumes that approximately half of the funding will be directed at the ICT components of the project, then the new initiative ICT funding total will be in the vicinity of $944 million, which is $210 million more than 2011-12.
Either way, it is apparent that the 2012-13 Budget has been more generous in new initiative ICT funding than its predecessor, by a margin of between $200 and $470 million. The level of funding this represents into future years (the forward estimates) will help ensure that there is no significant diminution of the level of ICT activity experienced by suppliers in the non-Defence segment of the Federal Government market.
The other major ICT allocations go towards supporting flagship policies of the Gillard Government, such as the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), eHealth and the National Broadband Network (the last being program funding that does not go towards departmental use of ICT).
The Budget has committed $240.3 million over four years to set up a system that will monitor client outcomes under the NDIS, the bulk of which will be under the control of the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs.
It has also added $233.7 million over three years to the roll-out of the Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR) which builds upon the $466.7 allocated in 2010-11.
However, for each of these, the out-year funding will be in some jeopardy if there is a change of government.
The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) will receive $68.5 million over four years to improve the operations and data quality of the Australian Business Register.
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) will also receive $43.7 million to replace its current market surveillance system.
Budget IT Online for 2012-13
Intermedium’s budget data will be available on line for the first time for the 2012-13 financial year. budget IT brings every ICT allocation in every Australian and New Zealand Budget to your screen as and when you need it, in a fully searchable format. We have exhaustively scrutinised the detail of the Budget Papers so that you can immediately act on the lead information contained in budget IT. To find out more call our Sales Team on (02) 9955 9896.