All the tech in the Coalition's budget 2016

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All the tech in the Coalition's budget 2016

Winners and losers as IT dollars are handed out.

The federal government has doled out large sums to the public sector to pay for the IT systems that will underpin its policy goals, with human services, health and cyber security taking home the biggest allocations over the next year.

Technology was also identified as a critical enabler as the government looks to find millions more in savings from day-to-day public sector operations, better regulatory enforcement and efficiency dividends.

Where the big dollars will go

  • $230 million for the cyber security strategy, $122 million of which has been reallocated from Defence
  • $199.4 million to be shared between the Department of Education, the Department of Human Services and the Department of Social Services to build a new IT system that will process payments to support the revised families package announced in the last budget
  • $178.3 million for the Department of Health to integrate existing state and territory-based registers for cervical cancer and bowel cancer screening into an single national register 
  • $50.5 million over five years to continue supporting MyGov, including $5.4 million for a joint team featuring the Department of Human Services, DTO, Treasury and Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet that will direct future developments to the portal.

Funded projects

  • $39.2 million for improvements to regulatory and management systems at the Australian Securities and Investments Commission
  • $32.6 million for the second phase of the Australian Federal Police's transition to a new data centre
  • $15.4 million for the first phase of the AFP's radio communications replacement
  • $24.8 million to pay for a business case for the replacement of legacy core IT systems at the Department of Veteran's Affairs
  • $23.9 million to the Department of Veteran's Affairs to sustain the existing systems at the agency in the meantime
  • $28.9 million over three years to top up CrimTrac's $50.2 million build of a biometrics identification services (BIS) system, which will replace the existing national automated fingerprint identification system
  • $15.9 million over four years for a new data analytics capability at the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources to generate intelligence on biosecurity risks
  • $12.4 million to upgrade IT systems across various agencies to create a more transparent reporting scheme for limited tendering processes
  • $9.9 million to fund CrimTrac's build of a national domestic violence order sharing system, which will allow the orders to be more effectively enforced across state and territory borders
  • $9.7 million to modernise data collection and dissemination systems at the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority, plus $11.2 million to support the maintenance and operation of the new systems
  • An undisclosed top-up sum to the Bureau of Meteorology to "improve the data and services" backing the build of its new supercomputer. The funding total remains commercial in confidence
  • $7.1 million to continue funding for the OzFoodNet surveillance system for food-borne diseases 
  • $5.3 million to the Digital Transformation Office to fund the trusted digital identity framework
  • $6.8 million for a network infrastructure refresh at CrimTrac
  • $6.2 million to build a new levy calculator and to modify billing systems that will enable industry charging changes at ASIC from 2017-18
  • $3.5 million over two years to upgrade regulatory workflow systems and the threatened species database at the Department of the Environment
  • $4.8 million over two years for enhancements to the EasyCount vote counting system operated by the Australian Electoral Commission
  • $1.8 million to overhaul DFAT's fair trade agreement online portal
  • $2 million over five years towards the continued implementation of a national coronial information system
  • $2.2 million to cover the operation of an Australian breast device registry and the cardiac devices registry, which track the lifecycles and ongoing performance of these health devices over time
  • $2.7 million to pay for a new case management system and alternative dispute resolution system for the Veteran's Review Board
  • $1 million to the Office of the Children's eSafety Commissioner to counter online grooming of children by violent extremists
  • $200,000 for a Treasury-run media campaign that will promote Australia to the world as an attractive location for financial technology businesses
  • $500,000 to pay for a scoping study into an IT solution to track and manage parliamentary entitlements

Additionally, the ATO and Treasury will jointly investigate the feasibility of adopting electronic invoicing across the federal government and even into the states and territories.

The government will miss out on $80 million worth of tariffs it would have otherwise received in the coming four years due to its agreement to phase out levies on technology products from 1 July 2017, in alignment with World Trade Organisation's international agreement.

Tech-enabled savings

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, including Austrade, will be expected to find $74.5 million in savings over five years, partially by "automating and centralising administrative functions".

The Department of Health is budgeted to save $66.2 million by using data analytics to identify healthcare providers that are abusing Medicare claims and by improving those debt recovery processes.

The Department of Immigration and Border Protection is eyeing off $180 million worth of savings from 2017 by increasing automation, self-service and sophisticated assessment capabilities within its visa assessment operations.

At the same time, however, IT operations across government could fall victim to a new round of increases to the sector-wide efficiency dividend to be skimmed from agency budgets from 2017-18 on.

The dividend has been lifted by 1.5 percent in 2017-18, by 1 percent the following year, and 0.5 percent the year after that. The government is hoping to recoup $1.4 billion through the measure.

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