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In other government ICT and digital news, 07 March 2023

by Cameron Sinclair •
Free resource


Governments around the country are lining their ducks up to deliver 2023-24 budgets. By the time you read this, there will be a little over nine weeks remaining until Treasurer Jim Chalmers brings down his second federal budget on 9 May. Between now and then, the Commonwealth parliament, as well as those in the ACT, NT, QLD, SA, TAS, WA, and VIC, will each have another two sitting weeks to mull legislation before taking a long Easter break (only NZ keeps working). There are also just two weeks left until the NSW election – check out our article on the implications of a potential change of government! 


Last week, almost 800 companies took part in the 2023 Avalon Airshow. 56 international delegations were represented, including 22 chiefs of service, but China and Russia were not invited. Much of the media attention focused on BAE Systems unveiling a new Australian developed armed drone. Known as STRIX, the VTOL (Vertical Take-Off and Landing) Uncrewed Air System can cover distances of up to 800 km. 

In Canberra, a bill to establish Ed Husic’s $15 billion National Reconstruction Fund is on the agenda in the House this week. If passed, it would set aside $1 billion each for critical technologies (including quantum) and advanced manufacturing. The Senate has also ticked off some changes to the consumer data right (CDR). 

In news that has been a long time coming, the government’s My Health Record app has finally been released. It’s called My Health, and you’ll need an existing myGov account linked to your My Health Record to use it. It was built by Adelaide-based firm Chamonix, who have done more than $21 million in business with the ADHA since 2017. 

In an update to our observation regarding Tik Tok on government devices last week: Liberal senator James Paterson has used Senate ‘questions on notice’ to confirm that 25 departments and agencies have banned TikTok on work-issued devices. A further 12 have implemented a partial ban, 11 permit the app, while five agencies did not respond or failed to answer directly. 

The Reserve Bank is moving forward with plans to develop a central bank digital currency (CBDC). Governor Philip Lowe first proposed the idea back in 2017, and further outlined his plans in a December 2022 speech. The bank has already undertaken a series of related collaborative projects with both local banks and foreign monetary authorities. 

And in news that confirms the assumptions of government researchers everywhere, Commonwealth Freedom of Information Commissioner Leo Hardiman confirmed his resignation on LinkedIn, citing a lack of powers to clear the current backlog of reviews. 


Norther Territory  Vocus announced progress on the final section of its $100 million advanced fiber optic connection linking Darwin to Jakarta and Singapore. We covered the announcement back in August 2021. 

Tasmania  Premier Jeremy Rockliffe delivered his 2023 State of the State speech on 1 March, but offered little news for the ICT industry, other than confirmation work continues on the Marinus Link project and extra $1.5 million to identify additional subsea digital cabling opportunities across Bass Strait.  

South Australia  A trade delegation from 25 UK space companies visited South Australia last week, including representatives from UK Launch Services, CGI, SSTL, Archangel Lightworks, Space Forge, Inmarsat and D-Orbit, and the UK Space Agency. Airbus, SSTL and Equatorial Launch Australia have all recently announced they will establish offices in South Australia. 


We wish all of our readers a happy International Women's Day (8 March), an official holiday in at least two dozen countries. The UN theme for 2023 is DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality. 

Microsoft has started adding its recently upgraded Bing search engine to its Windows computer software, “aiming to put artificial intelligence (AI) at the fingertips of hundreds of millions of people”. 

Singapore hosted more than 1,000 attendees for a series of advanced computing conferences last week, with the Supercomputing Asia 2023 (SCA23) conference co-hosting both the International Conference on High Performance Computing in Asia-Pacific Region (HPC Asia) and the Conference on Next Generation Arithmetic (CONGA23). The SCA conference series is coming to Australia for the first time in February 2024.  

The international asset management arm of Australia’s own Macquarie (bank) group is in a €20 billion bidding war to buy Italy’s landline network, Telecom Italia SpA.  

Finally, please read Radio Free Europe’s coverage of Romanian Prime Minister Nicolae Ciuca unveiling Ion, his new political adviser powered by AI. We will let the story speak for itself (no pun intended), but we can’t get past the fact that the robot takes the form of a full-length mirror.   

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