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Queensland Budget 2022-23: Opportunities Abound in Justice Portfolio

by Cameron Sinclair •
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Queensland Treasurer Cameron Dick has released the state’s 2022-23 Budget on the winter solstice, Tuesday 21 June.

While the top initiative was yet more funding for the state’s troubled medical records system, it is the Justice portfolio that presents the most opportunities for Australian tech firms, with almost $250 million allocated over five years to a wide range of system and data upgrades for the courts, police, and regulators.

Queensland sits in ninth place (out of ten) in Intermedium’s 2022 Digital Government Readiness and Maturity Indicator Report (DGRMI), due primarily to its dated digital strategy (2017-21). This may be somewhat remediated in future by the $1.9 million set aside to develop a new Digital Infrastructure Plan.

In his Budget speech, Dick emphasised Queensland that is outpacing all others for net interstate migration, population growth, and creating new jobs. This will necessitate government expansion to deliver increased services, and tech talent will remain hard to find. The state labour market is tight, with unemployment holding steady at 4%.

Justice

The justice system will receive total funding of $246.8 million over five years (and $27.4 million ongoing) to overhaul its ICT infrastructure.

  • $94.3 million is earmarked for ICT upgrades at the Queensland Courts and the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal. 
  • Queensland police will get $16.5 million for Body Worn Cameras (BWC) over four years and $5.3 million per annum ongoing from 2026-27, much of which will need to be spent on video file data storage.
  • There is $1.6 million earmarked to replace the police’s Weapons Licensing Management System.
  • $1.2 million will be spent over three years to maintain and expand Queensland's Domestic and Family Violence Homicide and Suicide Data Set and establish an implementation monitoring framework.
  • $1 million is set aside in 2022-23 to undertake a competitive tender for procurement of a multi-service provider solution for Queensland Corrective Services Electronic Security System.

Readers should also be paying attention to future spending plans in the justice portfolio.

The Department of Justice and Attorney General (DJAG) updated its ICT strategy 2021-22 just prior to the Budget, on 1 June 2022.

The divisional strategic priorities (on page 23) include a strong focus on upgrading case management and mobile working systems across all agencies.

The Department of Public Prosecutions (DPP) state they intend to improve their capability to handle large audio and video files (presumably for recording evidence).

The Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation provides a very specific wish-list, including automating manual process, improving data analytics capability, more integrated mobile technology for staff, developing an automated ‘self-serve’ online portal, and an electronic document and records management system (eDRMS) to enable file sharing. 

Health 

The Budget allocates $300 million over five years ($60 million per year) for a “Digital Hospital Electronic Medical Records System”. This will expand the integrated electronic Medical Records (ieMR) System to additional hospitals. The initial rollout of the project is expected to be completed by the end of June 2022, according to the state’s Digital Projects Dashboard. $332 million has already been spent over six years on this troubled project.

There is a further $90 million over three years for tranche 2 of the Infrastructure Maintenance Program.

Health portfolio spending will be driven by a total of $9.78 billion over six years to go towards building new hospitals in Bundaberg, Toowoomba, Coomera (Gold Coast), and Moranbah (inland from Mackay), and expansions at a dozen others.

Much of the media attention on the Budget focused on a further $1.6 billion for mental health services over five years, to be funded by a 0.25% levy on businesses with annual taxable wages of over $10 million (and 0.5% on those with wages over $100 million) from 1 January 2023. This levy will inevitably apply to several tech firms operating in the state. 

2032 Olympics 

Treasurer Dick declares that “the starter’s gun has sounded” on the decade-long race towards the Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The Budget allocates $59.3 million over 4 years to support the organising taskforce.

The games will require a wide range of tech, data, and digital support for both athletes and fans: display and graphic packages, scoring, positioning and timekeeping systems and cameras, sensors, smart wearables, and AI analytics programs.

We note that then-Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and the Council of Mayors announced the South East Queensland (SEQ) City Deal in March 2022, which includes $70 million for digital connectivity projects to support telecommunications infrastructure and improved digital connectivity. 

Other new ICT spending initiatives include:

  • The parliament will receive $5.2 million over four years (and $1.2 million per annum ongoing) to upgrade electorate office software and ICT equipment, and $562,000 over 4 years (and $171,000 per annum ongoing) for electorate office CCTV cameras. There is also a further $8.8 million over 4 years for various operating expenses, including software and ICT support costs.
  • There is an extra $9.3 million over two years for Rural Water Futures (RWF), which includes a digital water management program, and $7.1 million over four years for water modelling technical assessments.
  • The Queensland Emergency Operations Centre gets $14 million over six years to modernise and maintain critical ICT and Audio-Visual infrastructure.
  • Department of Employment, Small Business and Training sets aside an additional $3.3 million over 4 years to support the Queensland Resources Industry Development Plan (QRIDP) to develop pathways into higher education courses for those interested in pursuing a career in automation.
  • The Department of Communities, Housing and Digital Economy budget includes a further $3.6 million over four years to accelerate the digitisation of the audio-visual and other archival public records, an extra $1 million for the ‘Digital Economy Foundations’ program, and $1.9 million for the development of a Queensland Digital Infrastructure Plan.
  • An additional $13.8 million over six years for the development and operation of the Far North Queensland studio facility in Cairns. Alongside previously announced funding, this brings total funding for the studio to $20.6 million.
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Jurisdiction
  • QLD
Category
  • Software
Sector
  • Health
  • Justice
  • Legislature