ATO handed $70m to ready data centre move

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ATO handed $70m to ready data centre move

Budget 2019: Funding for migration plan, costing.

The Australian Taxation Office could be one of the first agencies to test new federal data centre rules after securing $70 million to move out of its existing data centre.

Budget papers reveal funding for the agency to “migrate from its existing data centre provider to an alternative data centre facility”.

The new money, which will be provided over two years from 2018-19, will be put toward preparing for the move.

This includes the development of a second pass business case to work out the full cost of the migration.

One of the considerations for the ATO will be the government’s freshly minted hosting strategy, which places new requirements on data centre providers to address data sovereignty, supply chain and ownership risks.

The policy will see data centre providers on whole-of-government panels labeled either ‘certified sovereign data centres’ or ‘certified assured data centres’, depending on the degree of “sovereignty assurance” they provide government.

The data centre migration is also likely to coincide with the ATO’s biggest shakeup of IT outsourcing deals in a decade that will see the agency adopt a new approach to sourcing.

Chief information officer Ramez Katf told iTnews last year that this would kick off later this year and span at least the next three years.

A small amount of the funding, which falls under the heading “increasing analytical capabilities”, will also be used to “support additional analytical capabilities” across a number of other agencies over four years.

This includes the Department of Home Affairs, which has received $3.2 million, as well as Treasury and the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation, which have both received $1.6 million.

Expanded Single Touch Payroll data sharing 

The Tax Office will also receive $82.4 million, shared with the Department of Veteran's Affairs, to expand collection and use of data through the Single Touch Payroll (STP) program.

STP kicked off last July for employers with more than 20 employees and will extend to those employers with under 20 employees from July 2019.

The funding, which will provided over four years, will be used to “support the expansion of the data collection through STP … and the use of this data by Commonwealth agencies”.

“STP data will be expanded to include more information about gross pay amounts and other details,” budget documents state.

"These changes will reduce the compliance burden for employers and individuals reporting information to multiple government agencies.”

The government also plans to achieve savings of $2.1 billion between 2018-19 and 2022-23 by using STP to simplify and automate employment income reporting for social security from July 2020.

This will effectively reduce the likelihood that welfare recipients could receive an overpayment that they would then be required to repay, circumventing the need for DHS’ controversial robo-debt system.

“Each fortnight, income data received through an expansion of STP data-sharing arrangements will also be shared with the Department of Human Services for recipients with employers utilising STP,” budget documents state.

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