AGIMO shifted to Special Minister of State

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AGIMO shifted to Special Minister of State

Public cloud computing on the cards in re-shuffle.

The Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO) is to be moved from the Department of Finance to the Special Minister of State under the new Gillard Government.

Sources told iTnews that AGIMO, responsible for the information technology strategy for the Federal Government and all of its agencies, will become the domain of Special Minister of State Gary Gray under a soon-to-be-announced re-shuffle.

Gray has a background in the resources and medical industries.

In a briefing note sent to Gray last week, Department of Finance secretary David Tune congratulated the minister and informed him of his new duties.

"I understand that you have agreed... that you will also have responsibility for a diverse range of technical and service delivery activities that Finance oversees, such as the Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO)," he said.

"For the first time, these existing elements of Finance will be drawn together under the banner of the new Government Business Office, which will report to you."

The briefing note informed Gray that the Federal Government spends $4.3 billion a year on IT.

"As the Special Minister for State, you and your colleagues are responsible for leading the strategic vision for the Government's IT use," the note said.

Under previous Finance Minister Lindsay Tanner, AGIMO was responsible for managing the Gershon Review - which aimed to reduce business-as-usual IT spending and consolidate the Government's data centre footprint.

Upon Tanner's resignation, Prime Minister Julia Gillard raided $447.5 million of the funds to be quarantined by these cost saving measures to fund other budget promises.

Time to embrace cloud computing?

Gray was asked to continue championing AGIMO initiatives announced to date - including the consolidation of Federal Government internet gateways, a commitment to eGovernment and plans to consolidate Federal Government data centres.

The Department of Finance briefing note asks Gray to continue pushing for cost savings from hardware and software vendors and also hints at efforts to embrace public cloud computing.

"While some further areas for investigation have already been identified, such as server hardware, software licensing agreements with large, commonly-used vendors and centrally provided common platforms for services such as web sites and email, scope exists for further, tightly targeted, efficiency projects in the whole of Government ICT area," the briefing note said.

"Examples, in increasing degree of complexity, include increased standardisation, a panel for public cloud computing utilising cheap resources for processing unclassified data, and a whole of Government electricity arrangement to support the data centre strategy."

In better news for the industry, the document outlines the business-as-usual savings achieved under the Gershon Review but does not push for further reductions in public spending on ICT.

"While further efficiency is desirable, further generic reductions are unlikely to be productive," it said.

AGIMO has already been listed on Gray's departmental web site under "portfolio responsibilities."

But it also remains listed under the Department of Finance's responsibilities.

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