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In other government ICT and digital news, 08 November 2022

by Cameron Sinclair •
Free resource

The 2022 parliamentary year is almost over, with Budget Estimates in full swing, international Summit Season underway, and 2023 sitting calendars starting to emerge, and we have almost reached the point where we need to have a section dedicated to the week in cyber security news.



The Data and Digital Ministers’ Meeting (DDMM) assembled on Friday for the first time since 25 March (a seven month break), with incoming chair Katy Gallagher getting the tick of approval by the retiring Digital OG Victor Dominello; who added that we should expect an update on NSW’s digital identification and credentialing progress over the next few weeks.

The October Budget update provided Labor Ministers with the obligation to front Senate Estimates hearings for the first time since June 2013.

Regular Canberra watchers consider the first hearings after a change of government to be pretty boring – the most pressing ICT question put to parliamentary services was about who asked to set up the Prime Minister’s voicemail system.

AFP commissioner Reece Kershaw’s opening statement confirmed investigations into Optus, Medibank, and (Woolworths) MyDeal data breaches.

If we were to draw a long bow and attempt to spot a lead alert buried in the transcripts, there was a very interesting exchange in the Finance and Public Administration(FPA) committee regarding the ‘restoration of a special appropriation’ ($6 million) for the independent Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) to enhance the ICT infrastructure, including “cybersecurity and all of those sorts of things.”

The Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC), which sits in the Defence portfolio, has released its annual cyber threat report, which contains few surprises, and the declaration that a cyber security incident is reported every 7 minutes (compared to 8 minutes last year).



2023 Sitting Calendars

With the current calendar year coming to a close (just 46 days to Christmas!) we are starting to see many parliaments release their 2023 sitting calendars and confirm the date of their respective 2022-23 Budgets. Some calendars confirm the budget date, but we have inferred it for others based on when the estimates hearings have been scheduled. So far we have...

  • ACT: full calendar, with the Budget presumed in the week of 27-29 June
  • NT: full calendar, Budget scheduled week of 9-11 May
  • TAS: full calendar, Budget scheduled on Thursday 25 May
  • WA: full calendar, Budget presumed week of 16-18 May

We don’t anticipate the Commonwealth government to release the 2023 calendar until the end of November. The Victorian election is two weeks away and the sitting calendar won’t be released until writs are returned; but their parliament ordinarily returns in mid-February. We are monitoring each jurisdiction and will be updating our ‘Key Public Sector Dates’ page as more information is released.

NSW: No sittings for six months

Further, we don’t expect the NSW parliament to release a 2023 sitting calendar until several weeks after the 25 March 2023 election, in line with the conventions that have existed since fixed terms were introduced. While there are some ‘back up’ reserve dates in the calendar into December, we are going to go out on a limb and make a prediction – that the state parliament will rise for the last time next week, on Thursday 17 November, and will not sit again for six months, sometime around May 2023.

Tasmania: more ministers (from 2025)

In news that we missed last week, and which will hopefully have an impact on the Tasmanian government’s long term ICT investment, the Rockwell administration has introduced draft legislation to increase the size of the Lower House from 25 to 35 members at the 2025 election. As we have noted previously, many politicians, stakeholders, and public servants have expressed concern that Tasmania’s (current nine) cabinet ministers are struggling to juggle too many portfolio responsibilities. For example, the current Science and Technology Minister Madeleine Ogilvie holds four other ministerial roles aside from her WofG ICT responsibilities.



Coming off the back of the G7 Foreign Ministers meeting in Germany (3-4 Nov), and COP27 in Egypt starting this week (6-18 Nov), we are well and truly into Summit Season. On the horizon we have got…

  • ASEAN in Cambodia, 10-13 November
  • G20 in Bali, 15-16 November
  • APEC in Bangkok, 18-20 November

Unfortunately progress that has been made on digital government initiatives in recent years has been bumped off the agenda by war, inflation, and an energy crisis.

Singapore: military gets new digital branch

The Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) have formally inaugurated their new Digital and Intelligence Service (DIS) as a fourth branch. It was announced earlier this year to serve alongside the army, air force and navy. The new branch consolidates the cyber and command, control, communications, computer and intelligence units into a unified structure to train, fight, and defend the city-state's critical infrastructure.

India launches digital rupee

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has launched the e-rupee, with nine private and state-owned institutions permitted to make transactions from 1 November. Australia’s RBA is also “actively researching central bank digital currency (CBDC) as a complement to existing forms of money,” and has already undertaken a series of collaborative projects with both local banks and foreign monetary authorities.

UK considers consigning the fax machine to history

The British Office of Communications, commonly known as Ofcom, the Communications regulator, has kicked off a review of the universal service obligation (USO). The UK parliament recently removed fax services from the USO legislation; and the regulator is reviewing its guidelines that still require telcos to provide fax services. The modern fax machine was invented by Xerox back in 1964 (making it 58 years old), and, as everyone knows, started out as a waffle iron with a phone attached.

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