We are a week out from the federal, NT, and WA governments each revealing their 2023-24 Budgets and the market signals are coming in thick and fast. As we have been predicting for some months now, Finance Minister Katy Gallagher has confirmed that there will be more money for MyGov, Veterans’ Affairs, and Digital Health. The recently released Migration Review hints that the visa processing system is due for an overhaul. Queensland has finally revealed a new digital strategy, but we suspect it has been sitting in someone’s draw for a long time.
There is a week to go until Treasurer Jim Chalmers delivers his first ‘full’ federal Budget. Readers may have seen media reports that the Budget is back in black, but please don’t believe the hype – we aren’t expecting either a cash splash (or a tax cut!). The March Financial Statement shows that while the (monthly) Underlying Cash Balance was indeed $1.6 billion in the black, we are still running a $34 billion deficit over the Year To Date (YTD).
Finance Minister Katy Gallagher has confirmed the Budget will include additional funding for the Australian Digital Health Agency, MyGov, Veterans Affairs, and the Australian Radioactive Waste Agency.
Emergency Services Minister Murray Watt has revealed the Budget will include $10 million for the Public Safety Mobile Broadband (PSMB) Taskforce to drive the development of a new national emergency warnings and alert system, which will replace the existing use of text messages. The PSMB was recommended in the 2020 Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements.
The largely unused Consumer Data Right (CDR) regime is undergoing a shakeup. Paul Franklin has resigned after almost three-and-a-half years as executive general manager. Kathie Standen from the Australian Energy Regulator will take over.
STATE BY STATE
A bit of news out of NSW this week.
Premier Chris Minns has announced his parliamentary secretaries (the modern name for an assistant minister), with former staffer and unionist Anthony D’Adam MLC assigned to help minister Jihad Dib in the Customer Service and Digital Government portfolio. We suspect he edits his own Wikipedia entry.
The new members of the NSW Legislative Assembly (lower house) are attending procedure ‘school’ this week in preparation for the parliament to resume next Tuesday.
NSW police is recruiting for a chief information security officer (CISO) Michael Marsden is leaving the role after more than four-and-a-half years. NSW Police lost its last CIO Gordon Dunsford, to the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) in December 2021, and the Deputy Commissioner for Corporate Services has been filled by CFO Kenna Ackley in an acting capacity since December 2022. Last month we observed that the nation’s largest police force is finally moving forward with replacement of their 28-year-old mainframe-based Computerised Operational Policing System (COPS), after a tumultuous decade featuring multiple ministers, Commissioners, and suppliers.
NSW’s former minister Victor Dominello has confirmed he will be spending one day per week leading the Trustworthy Digital Society Hub, a collaboration between UNSW and UTS to provide research and insights digital platforms.
The Quad Leaders’ Summit in Sydney has been confirmed for 24 May. The agenda will include critical and emerging technologies, enhancing clean energy innovation and boosting supply chain resilience.
The UK Geospatial Commission is partnering with Airbus to pilot trials to make better public use of satellite Earth Observation (EO) data. The initiative will involve up to 35 agencies and run until the end of March 2024.
The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) has launched a national inquiry into the use of automated tools by employers to surveil, monitor, evaluate, and manage staff. The announcement was made to coincide with 1 May, International Workers’ Day, and cites examples including:
- Nurses wearing RFID badges to track their location and proximity to other hospital workers or patients;
- Rideshare and delivery drivers having their speed, location, and acceleration monitored;
- Office workers having software on their computers that records their mouse and keyboard activity;
- Call center workers are intensively tracked by electronic monitoring; and
- Warehouse packers and stockers use scanners that also track their pace of work.