In Other Public Sector News for September 21
This Saturday marks the six-month anniversary of the last national Digital and Data Ministers Meeting (DDMM) held on 25 March 2022.
Geoscience Australia has awarded Lockheed Martin a $1.183 billion contract over 20 years (2041) to build the Southern Positioning Augmentation Network (SouthPAN), which will improve the accuracy of GPS by up to 100x. The project is a collaboration between Australian and New Zealand governments, with the New Zealand Budget allocating $200 million and Australia’s Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO) pledging an additional AU$521 million.
Defence Minister Richard Marles has confirmed that AUKUS arrangements will help drive the creation of a common industrial base across the USA, UK and Australia with a focus on quantum, AI, hypersonics and counter-hypersonics, and undersea warfare.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) are on the lookout for a new CIO, after Steve Hamilton was recruited to take on an unspecified “senior technology leadership role” with the federal government. The tech-whizz oversaw delivery of the 2021 Census, the 2017 Australian Marriage Equality Postal Survey, and a raft of data changes driven by the COVID-19 pandemic.
STATE BY STATE
ACT: skill shortages
Australia’s official unemployment rate rose slightly to 3.5% in August, largely due to a higher participation rate. The rate varies across jurisdictions, from 4.9% in Tasmania, down to 2.7% in the ACT, underscoring the chronic skill shortages facing both the federal and territory governments as they draw from the Canberra labour market. ACT Minister Chris Steel announced another round of fee free JobTrainer placements, include a range of digital courses. Applications close on 31 March 2023
NSW: Police being sued
The NSW police are being sued for an alleged breach of contract by specialist law enforcement software giant Mark43, a firm with ties to Jeff Bezos and Ashton Kutcher. As part of the efforts to upgrade the 27-year-old Computerised Operational Policing System (COPS), a contract (RFP 1828 & 1828B) worth $177 million over eight years was published in April 2021. The NSW Police dumped the contract last month. The name is a riff on the movie Iron Man 3, where Tony Stark was wearing a new Iron Man suit called Mark 42 (the forty-second version).
NSW: solar powered satellite backpacks... for birds
The NSW government got some media coverage for promoting ‘tiny solar-powered backpacks’ to enable satellite tracking of endangered bird species this week. The new tech is smaller than a postage stamp and replaces trackers that were previously limited to a 12-week backpack battery life and used field transmitters. It marks the evolution of a technique that has been in use for more than a decade.
NT: bottle store scanner upgrade... compatible with digital licenses
The NT government is upgrading the photo identification scanners used in more than 160 Top-End bottle stores to enforce the Banned Drinkers Register (BDR). There were 2,857 people on the BDR as at July, or roughly 1.15% of the population (249k). The new scanning equipment will work with NT driver’s licenses and digital licences issued in other jurisdictions.
WA: launches start-up monitoring platform
The McGowan Government has launched Dealroom WA, a public dashboard to display real-time and historic information on the state's early-stage innovation ecosystem, including data on startups, accelerator programs, grants, high-growth companies, funding rounds, co-working spaces, and investments from across the state. WA’s subscription to the platform is part of its $16.7 million New Industries Fund.
INTERNATIONAL NZ: New Digital Strategy
New Zealand has released a revised Digital Strategy. It shifts focus from the 2019 edition, which was largely about building basic foundations and supporting the public service, to building digital trust across government and supporting digital industries.
UK: Online Access to Sensitive Archive Records
The UK National Archives is seeking an Access Your Records (AYR) service to allow government officials to get digital access to its sensitive records. Government users currently access non-sensitive digital records online but need to visit in person to see sensitive records. The approach to market requires prospective providers to address user authentication, security, access controls, search and browse based on user access privileges, and how the service should store and retrieve records.
Iran: Elon Musk seeking sanctions exemptions for satellites
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk will seek an exemption from sanctions against Iran to provide the firm's Starlink satellite broadband service in the country, where authorities frequently impose localised internet blackouts. The service is now also available on Antarctica.