This week’s sweep of public sector news includes the prospect of procurement audits in several Commonwealth agencies, plans to replace SA’s Masterpiece Shared Services platform, and the possibility of the Netherlands establish the world’s first right to work remotely.
STATE BY STATE
Victoria Roads Registry Privatised
In what may be the biggest privatisation of the year, Victoria has sold part of VicRoads, including its registration and licensing (R&L) business to a consortium of industry super funds and Macquarie's investment arm. The new owners have poached Dale Andrea from the DoT as chief information officer.
Tasmania Booking System Crashes
The new booking site for Tasmania’s famed Overland Track has crashed on Thursday, even after its launch was delayed by a week. The booking platform, hosted by Sydney firm CustomLinc, was scheduled to go live on 1 July, but was pushed back by a week. KPMG’s Tasmanian office was awarded a $87,975 contract in May 2021 to develop a business case and undertake market research for a Parks Online Booking System. The Parks and Wildlife Service (PWS) blamed “the volume of traffic” and “intermittent statewide internet outage” for the fault. Tasmania also suffered an internet outage in March.
Queensland Public Service Shake up
A taskforce has been set up to respond to the recommendations of the Coaldrake review, headed by Department of Justice and Attorney-General (DJAG) director-general David Mackie. As we noted last week, these include stronger oversight of contractors, a new complaints portal, data breach scheme, and proactive release of cabinet documents.
SA: Replacing Financial Management System
The recent SA Budget noted the Malinauskas Government intends to replace its Masterpiece financial management system by 2025. When pressed for further information at a recent Estimates hearing, Treasurer Stephen Mullighan confirmed that a project team would soon go to market, but declining to reveal the estimated cost.
ACT Budget: 2 August
The countdown to the 2022-23 ACT Budget on Tuesday 2 August has begun, with plans for a new maternity revealed. It will be the final jurisdiction to reveal spending plans and we expect it will continue the trend of pouring money into its health system.
Federal: Jobs Summit 1-2 September
The PM has confirmed a Jobs Summit will take place in Canberra over Thursday 1 and Friday 2 September, pledging to issue a Treasury White Paper and reiterating their intention to establish Jobs & Skills Australia (modelled on ‘Skills Future’ in Singapore), to align workforce forecasting to government funded training programs.
The recently replaced head of DFAT Katherine Campbell is rumoured to be in line to head up the proposed Advanced Strategic Research Agency (ASRA), which will be Australia’s answer to the US military’s ‘DARPA’ research organisation.
Anthony Stinziani has joined the northward migration to Queensland, leaving the ACT Government (after a long career in Commonwealth ICT roles) to become CIO for the City of Gold Coast.
Former senator Rex Patrick has launched a post-parliamentary career, offering his Freedom of Information (FOI) expertise for hire.
The Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) has created a CISO role. Applications close 17 July.
With the new financial year underway, the Commonwealth Auditor General has kicked off several items on its existing work plan with a strong focus on procurement.
There will be a particularly niche audit of procurement complaints handing, at the Department of Finance, the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources, ACMA, and the RBA. Submissions close 7 August, report to be tabled in December 2022.
An audit of the procurement of the WofG Permissions Platform will be of significant interest to the government ICT market. We have covered this on again, off again saga for several years now, including the recent shelving of Digital Passenger Declaration, the platforms ‘first use’ case. Submissions close 31 July, report to be tabled December 2022.
The ANAO is also already working on an audit of cyber security supply chains at DFAT, Home Affairs, and the ATO, which is due to be tabled in November 2022. Will be very interesting to see what the auditor has to say about the introduction of Cyber Hubs at the latter two.
There ANAO has published its corporate plan for 2022-23, noting that the Commonwealth digital identity scheme is on a list of possible audits
Japan Defence Tech Jump
The week was dominated by some truly extraordinary news from overseas – the resignation of Boris Johnson, and the collapse of the Sri Lankan government, and the assassination of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, on the eve of a parliamentary elections.
Firms in the defence supply chain should be paying attention to what happens next in Japan – the ruling party now has a large enough majority to amend the constitution, and a mandate to double defence spending, which will have flow on effects across the entire Indo-Pacific.
Netherlands Closer to ‘Remote Work Right’
The Lower House of the Dutch parliament has passed a bill requiring employers to consider requests to work from home. Consultations on the ‘Working Wherever you Want’ (Wet Werken Waar je Wil) Bill began in November 2020.
Chinese Data Breach
More than one billion personal records stolen from a Chinese police database have appeared on the dark web (including name, address, national ID, mobile, police and medical records). More than 100 Australians, including an unnamed former MP, have been identified. Online discussion about the leak is being censored.
There was an unusual joint podium appearance by the British MI5 Director General Ken McCallum and FBI Director Chris Wray, to address Chinese industrial espionage. It was the first time the heads of the two agencies have shared a public platform.
London Underground Mobile Coverage
London Tube customers will soon have access to 4G and 5G mobile internet between stations.