Welcome to Intermedium’s weekly newsletter, collated prior to the federal Budget coming down on Tuesday evening. We have been burning the midnight oil to analyse the Budget Papers for digital, ICT, cyber, telco spending and will publish a full analysis, which will be immediately emailed out to our clients. In this weeks newsletter, you will find our federal budget preview (published last week), a preview of the Victorian Budget (slated for Tuesday 23 May), and a review of the national quantum strategy. The WA and NT Budgets also come down this week and we will publish our analysis ASAP.
MoG watchers take note:
- Climate Changer Minister has announced that a National Net Zero Authority will be established as an Executive Agency inside the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet from 1 July 2023. The new agency will be tasked with helping regions, industries, and employers to proactively manage clean energy transformation.
- A new Australian Submarine Agency (ASA) and an independent statutory regulator, the Australian Nuclear-Powered Submarine Safety Regulator (ANPSSR). Will be established as non-corporate entities within the Defence portfolio.
Over the weekend the government released an ‘Audit of Employment’ showing the former Coalition spent $1.9 billion outsourcing, contractors and consultants to plug ICT and digital skills gaps during the 2021-22 financial year. The Mandarin described the audit as evidence of a “tech recruitment failure,” mainly attributable to ICT contractors unwilling to accept pay cuts to work in the APS. The audit shows that the significant majority (65%) were employed in the Defence portfolio, followed by Social Services (10%).
Former minister Stuart Robert has announced he will resign after 16 years in parliament. He served as a very active Minister for Government Services (2019-21) and Employment (2021-22), chairing the Digital and Data Ministers Meeting (DDMM), and launching a range of digital initiatives – including the Permissions Platform, the CovidSafe app, overhauling myGov, and the Workforce Australia employment platform. He has recently been embroiled in both the Robodebt Royal Commission and whistle-blower allegations of impropriety relating to the awarding of the Entitlements Calculation Engine component of the WPIT program. He has not clarified exactly when the announcement will come into effect.
Gordon de Brouwer has been confirmed as the new APS Commissioner, stepping up from his position as the dedicated Secretary for Public Sector Reform, where he was working closely with former Commissioner Peter Woolcott. An economics professor before returning to government last year, de Brouwer has worked for the RBA, Treasury, DPMC, and served as Australia’s ‘G20 Sherpa’ (the PM’s personal representative) from 2008-13. He was previously Secretary of the Department of the Environment (2013-16), and its successor, Environment and Energy (2016 to 2017). He is a past president of the Institute of Public Administration Australia (IPAA) and has maintained close ties to the public service since returning to academia.
STATE BY STATE
We are getting a lot of client inquiries seeking information on the incoming NSW government. In sum:
- The Minns government has confirmed that the Budget has been delayed until September (date TBC), with an “Economic Statement” to be released in June, and Machinery of Government (MoG) changes will take effect on 1 July, but we typically don’t receive much public information until after these have been implemented.
- The NSW parliament returned for the first time since the election yesterday (9 May) and will likely confirm the revised sitting calendar for the remainder of the year soon, which should clarify the approximate dates of the Economic Statement, any subsequent Estimates hearings, the September Budget, and the formal Budget Estimates that follow.
- The NSW Opposition has named a Shadow Cabinet, with Manly MP James Griffin assigned to the Customer Service portfolio.
The Victorian government has confirmed Ballarat will be the location of digital driver licence trials from July 2023. The licence will include a timed QR code that can be scanned by police and bouncers to verify its authenticity and prevent fraudulent use.
1-7 May was Privacy Week around the country, celebrated in weird and wonderful ways. Incoming NSW Digital Minister Jihad Dib marked the week with confirmation that beta trials are underway for the NSW Digital ID.
The Tasmanian government launched a somewhat belated ‘Defend Your Data’ campaign, running ads on TV, newspaper, radio, and social media. However, it seems they’re unaware that ID support NSW is providing assistance to victims affected by data theft from a third-party file transfer service used by the Tasmanian Department of Education, Children and Young People (DECYP). Instead, the campaign refers scam victims to seek assistance from Lifeline and Beyond Blue.
Queensland sugar growers are the beneficiaries of a new app, Harvest Mate, to provide data to optimise crop yields. The collaboration between the state Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) and Sugar Research Australia (SRA) uses historic information on block, crop, harvester, haul-out, labour and harvest conditions to predict optimal harvester settings.
Perth is hosting the CyberWest Summit 2023, billed as “a cybersecurity conference for non-IT professionals” over two days, 10-11 May.
In an interview with Bloomberg, IBM CEO Arvind Krishna revealed he expects that 30% of the company’s back-office functions could be replaced by AI and automation in five years.
The UK Government is rolling out a new online scam reporting system, boosting the role of the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), as part of the Home Office’s national Fraud Strategy.
US airlines are warning of ‘TRAVEL CHAOS’ due to 1 July deadline to refit planes with new sensors and altimeters to address possible 5G interference. The issue goes back to 2021, when major US telcos released plans to rollout 5G near airports, and airlines responded by warning this could interfere with flight equipment. Transport Secretary Pete Buttigieg has urged all parties to work ‘aggressively’ to implement the changes over the next two months.