The Federal Budget is now 10 weeks away, and there is a steady flow of reports, reviews, and recommendations developed over the summer arriving on minister’s desks.
Privacy Act: The government released its long-awaited review of the Privacy Act, with 116 proposals that will provide rich opportunities for companies providing tools for data protection, management, security, governance, and recovery. Interested parties have until 31 March 2023 to respond.
Cyber Strategy: The Expert Advisory Board led by (former Telstra CEO) Andy Penn has released a cyber security discussion paper calling for a significant overhaul of legislation, regulation, enforcement and intervention powers. Submissions close on 15 April 2023.
Migration Strategy: The Migration Strategic Review was due to be delivered to the government yesterday, 28 February. In a panel discussion at the AFR Workforce Summit last week, Martin Parkinson said the ‘migration approval system is running on a technology platform built for the demand and conditions of the 1980s.’
Medicare Compliance: The Medicare Compliance Review was also due yesterday, 28 February. Initiated after claims of $8 billion in fraud and non-compliance emerged late last year, but many experts have questioned whether four months is long enough to conduct a comprehensive audit.
Defence Strategic Review: Speaking at the Avalon Air Show on Monday night, Defence Minister Richard Marles confirmed the long-awaited DSR will be released in April.
Synergy 360 and Infosys Inquiry: Also due ‘within weeks’ is an investigation into Stuart Robert’s involvement in a contract awarded to Infosys to develop a pension payments calculation engine. Dr Ian Watt has been bought on to assist.
Robodebt Royal Commission: Has been extended and will now deliver its report on 30 June.
No word on the National Quantum Strategy yet... though speaking of Robodebt, at the Quantum Australia conference in Sydney last week, Minister Ed Husic said that the debacle was “not a reason to stop using AI in government.”
Former Service NSW chief executive Damon Rees has been appointed to lead an independent review of the federal government’s ATO modernising business registers program, which is apparently $1 billion over budget. A final report with recommendations is expected by 30 June.
We could probably write a book about government websites crashing under entirely predictable activity surges. The latest was the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) mySchool site, which could not handle the volume of users checking in on NAPLAN results.
STATE BY STATE
NEC Australia has been appointed to deliver the ACT’s new integrated public transport ticketing passenger information, and journey planning system, to be called MyWay+ (plus).
Fleet management systems providers should note the NSW Auditor General has released a damning report on the states’ bushfire equipment and assets, finding a lack of strategic forward planning and reporting on key metrics.
For those keeping count, there are little over three weeks until the NSW election. We took a look at NSW Labor’s digital transformation plans last week.
In the NT, Charles Darwin University has announced an expansion of its course offerings as part of the establishment of a TAFE function, including new courses, a Cert IV in Cyber Management, Cert III in Aviation (Drone Piloting) and a short course Webdev Client-Side Scripting.
New Zealand’s telecommunications network is largely back up and running after being knocked out by Cyclone Gabriele, though police are investigating a spate of generator thefts from cellphone towers. There are still eight people unaccounted for.
The UK Chancellor of the Exchequer, Jeremy Hunt, will deliver his first Spring Budget on 15 March, in the midst of an ongoing energy crisis and an emerging vegetable shortage.
The list of governments that have banned TikTok continues to grow. The White House has given federal employees 30 days to remove the app from federal devices. European Commission staff must remove the app as soon as possible and no later than 15 March. Canada will delete and block the app on all government-issued mobile devices on 28 February.
In Australia, four departments (Defence; Home Affairs; Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water; and the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry) have forbidden their employees from downloading TikTok on work devices.
Finally, anyone working in the tech industry should listen to the NYT’s Daily Podcast on ‘the Dark Side’ of Microsoft’s Bing AI chatbot.