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What will SA’s new ICT plan look like?

by Paris Cowan •
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A first draft of South Australia’s new ICT Strategy has been tabled for approval, with the Office of the CIO anticipating an April release to the public.

The plan will not have been created in a vacuum. No doubt the upcoming election, budget deficit and debate over staff cuts will have influenced its development. So too will have a number of key ICT policy trends that can be observed across most if not all recently released ICT strategies in Australian jurisdictions.

Intermedium has summarised its predictions for what will emerge from the State in April:

Nation-wide trends:

There are a number of common themes that all governments, both Labor and Coalition, can be expected to include in an ICT Strategy.

Open Data is one of the most popular. Handing information and data repositories that a public service already owns (and has already paid to collect) over to business and the community to attain value from it, represents a cheap and quick win for a government. Accordingly, NSW, the Federal Government and Victoria have all reserved space for an Open Data agenda in their respective ICT plans. So too, will SA.

Agency coordination and resource sharing is also a repeated theme amongst increasingly revenue-poor Australian governments. With a $1.2 billion budget deficit looming large across the political agenda, SA will no doubt also be looking to make its ICT dollar stretch as far as possible by avoiding duplication between its various bodies.

South Australia already has shared services arrangements in place, but is likely to follow its fellow jurisdictions by encouraging agency-sharing of other non-corporate applications and hardware.

SA ICT Priorities:

The Office of the CIO has also confirmed three key priorities that will shape its development of the SA ICT Strategy:

  1. Improved productivity
  2. Improved stakeholder engagement
  3. Improved service delivery

Productivity emerged as a key theme of the Federal Government’s ICT Strategy. One of the central tenets of the NBN roll-out strategy is the enhancement of Australia’s digital economy, and as a Labor State, SA is likely to mirror the broadband-enabled ambitions of its Canberra counterparts, potentially through a push towards telework and teleheath.

Industry members should keep an eye out for opportunities to join ICT advisory groups as part of any push by the SA Government to improve its stakeholder engagement. Similar boards and panels have already been set up in NSW and have been hinted at by Queensland and Victoria as they put their ICT Strategies together.

The State’s existing ICT plan places particular emphasis on service delivery, particularly in the online space. South Australia’s successful experiment in consolidating all of its agency websites into a single standardised portal is seen by many as a model for making public service resources easier to navigate for citizens. To further this program, SA may even look towards NSW, which has just commenced its ambitious Service NSW reform program, aimed at streamlining all channels of government transactions.

Reducing risk has also been touted as a concern for the State. Speaking to Intermedium last year, Government CIO Andrew Mills said that years of budget strain had left the state with quite a bit of ageing ICT infrastructure.

“And that is a risk that we work through,” he said.

External forces:

The new South Australian ICT Strategy will be expected to align with the six priority areas of the SA Strategic Plan:

  1. Community
  2. Prosperity
  3. Environment
  4. Health
  5. Education
  6. Ideas

An eHealth program has already established itself as one of the most significant areas of ICT investment by the SA Government, attracting the vast majority of identified technology funding in the 2012-13 Budget. The SA Strategic Plan’s emphasis on childhood wellbeing indicates that this could become target area for ICT-based innovations along the lines of NSW Health’s eBlue Book application.

Related Articles:

South Australia to launch new ICT Strategy in 2013

South Australia to outsource management of $485 million eHealth program

Vendors shortlisted for $323 million SA telecommunications panel

For more information, please contact the Editor (02) 9955 9896.

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