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In other government ICT and digital news, 21 March 2023

by Cameron Sinclair •
Free resource


Greens propose right to ignore after hours email, WA reveals digital roadmaps, NASA administrator visits Australia, and Estonia conducts the world’s first ‘mostly’ online election. 


Reading this after working hours? The Greens have introduced a draft bill to establish a ‘right to disconnect’ and ignore emails, calls and texts received outside of working hours, following the publication of the final report of the Senate Select Committee on Work and Care (chaired by the Greens). 

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson is in Australia to discuss space cooperation and launch a new National Indigenous Space Academy (NISA). First Nations students will be able to apply for postings to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California as part of a joint program with Monash University. 

Skills Minister Brendan O’Connor launched the Willyama Cyber Traineeships program, a two-year cyber security skills program targeting women, veterans, neurodiverse, indigenous, culturally and linguistically diverse people. Willyama is a wholly owned and certified Indigenous business. 


The NSW election is on Saturday. Labor currently has 37 of the 93 seats in the NSW Legislative Assembly (Lower House) and will need to win 10 to form a majority government, but could comfortably form a minority government by winning just 4-5 seats and entering into a ‘supply and confidence’ agreement with independents and minor parties. 

Outgoing NSW Digital Minister Victor Dominello confirmed that trials of the Digital Opal Card have gone well and that they are aiming to implement a full roll-out by the first quarter of 2024. The $568 million upgrade, known as Opal+, will allow users to tap on and off with their phone or smartwatch using their digital wallet.  

The Tasmanian government confirmed that drones will replace helicopters to conduct inspections of the state's electricity transmission network, following trials of the technology in 2022. 

WA released the 2023 Roadmap update to accompany its Digital Strategy (2021-25), revealing 27 new initiatives, including: planning reforms, cyber security uplifts, and digitising audio-visual collections. 

Also in WA, if you’re wondering where that AUKUS cash is going to go, about $8 billion is heading to HMAS Stirling on Perth’s Garden Island, 15km south of Fremantle (and not to be confused with the naval base of the same name on Sydney Harbour). Treasurer Jim Chalmers described the renovation "biggest industrial undertaking in Australia's history". The island is in the electorate of WA Premier Mark McGowan, who served as a Navy lawyer on the base prior to entering politics. 


Across the ditch, New Zealand’s Minister for the Digital Economy and Communications, Ginny Andersen, has also been responsibility for the Police portfolio, after the controversial resignation of incumbent Stuart Nash. 

The United States’ Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) has selected an Australian space startup to deliver a 3D printed hypersonic test drone. Hypersonix Launch Systems DART AE vehicle is scheduled to begin operations as part of the US’s Hypersonic and High-Cadence Airborne Testing Capabilities (HyCAT1) program in 2024. 

It has been a busy week for LEO (Low Earth Orbit) satellite tech. Amazon’s Project Kuiper has unveiled three satellite internet antenna models as it prepares to take on rival SpaceX’s Starlink network in 2024. The Indian Space Research Organisation is preparing to launch 36 satellites for British company OneWeb; which has abandoned efforts to retrieve satellites worth $50 million from the Russia-owned Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. 

And finally, Estonia’s recent elections reached an important milestone with more votes cast online (51%) than in person for the first time. The Baltic nation has offered optional ‘i-Voting’ since 2005, in five local government, five national parliament, and three European Parliament elections. 

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