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In Other Government ICT and Digital News, 23 August 2023

by Cameron Sinclair •
Free resource


Audits in both Victoria and NSW target cyber security, NBN co is looking for Low Earth Orbit satellites to compete with Starlink, and the hunt for the Loch Ness Monster goes digital.


July ABS Labour Force data showed the economy is stabilising, with both the national unemployment rate steady at 3.6% and the participation rate remaining at 66.8%. Unemployment is highest in TAS (4.2%), SA (4.1%) and QLD (4.1%), and remains low in NSW (3.2%), NT (3.3%) and ACT (3.3%).

Treasurer Jim Chalmers has confirmed the latest intergenerational report (IGR) will be released on Thursday, focusing on five ‘big shifts’ in the economy, including the rapid move “from IT to AI.” The most recent IGR was released in June 2021 and noted the impact of AI was still difficult to measure, but urged the government to take “full advantage of digital technologies to boost productivity.” We expect more of the same rhetoric.

Moody's reaffirmed Australia's triple A credit rating with a stable outlook (meaning the government can borrow cheap money to invest in said digital technologies).

The Department of Defence has promoted Dr Paul Robbards to Chief Data Integration Officer, overseeing $515 million OneDefence Data Program. He replaces Dr Maria Milosavljevic.

NBN Co is considering low-earth orbit (LEO) satellites to replace its Sky Muster satellite internet service. The taxpayer-owned telco recently issued an RFI. Its main competitor, Elon Musk’s Starlink, launched in Australia in 2021 using LEO satellites and now has more than 120,000 customers, to Sky Muster’s 96,000.


The Victorian Auditor-General’s Office (VAGO) has released a worrying investigation of Microsoft 365 cloud-based identity and device management controls, finding extensive shortcomings. In addition to routine improvement to agency cyber hygiene, the report recommends extending the state’s cyber hubs and security operation centres (SOCs) coverage.

Hot on the heels of NSW updating its computing and technology curriculum, WA is seeking industry advice on an overhaul of its high school science studies to teach teenagers more tech, including radio astronomy, space operations, remote control technologies, marine science, and medical tech.


The UK National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has issued a draft guidance note endorsing the use of online weight management platforms – Liva, Oviva, Roczen and Second Nature – to allow obese people to seek treatment from their couch.

In the US, Facial recognition, surveillance, and non-consensual photo scraping specialist Clearview AI is trying to avoid liability for violating various privacy laws by arguing that its business model is First Amendment-protected “speech" by comparing itself to data miners engaged in the “creation and dissemination of information.”

Across the ditch, with less than two months until the next NZ election, support for Labour has dropped to under 30% in multiple polls. It is now trailing the National Party and with the ACT Party polling consistently in double-digits, the two could potentially form a centre-right coalition.

The search for the Loch Ness monster is going partially digital, with the local visitor centre organising a ‘Quest Weekend’ to urge volunteers to come and watch the lake (ei, that’s it), while local researchers use drone mounted infrared cameras to produce thermal images of the water and hydrophones to detect acoustic signals beneath the surface. Might catch on…

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