The federal government will spend almost $120 million consolidating IT systems used by the Department of Veterans' Affairs and bolstering its data analytics capabilities.
Budget documents reveal a program of work over the four years in response to a 2019 Productivity Commission report that called for the greater use of data to plug gaps in service delivery.
Around $55 million will go towards “ICT consolidation” in both DVA and its shared services provider, Services Australia.
Veteran Affairs minister Darren Chester said the funding would build on improvements made under the multi-million veteran centric reform program that began in 2016.
“In recent years the government has invested more than $500 million into the most significant reform of Australia’s veteran support system in decades,” he said.
“The 2021-22 budget includes a further $55.1 million to build on these improvement, making it quicker and easier for veterans and their families to access the support they need.”
The funding comes just weeks after the Community and Public Sector Union called on the government to review DVA’s shared services arrangement with Services Australia.
It cited a recent members survey, in which only 34 percent of DVA staff said the arrangement with Services Australia had delivered improvements.
A further $62.1 million will go towards improving the long-term data capabilities of DVA and Defence by examining “all aspects of an Australian Defence Force members’ service” for the first time.
The bulk of this ($40.7 million) will be spent on a “fully-integrated data sharing analytics solution” to “better identify and prevent long-term illness and injury through longitudinal data analysis”.
Just over $21 million will also go towards expanding DVA’s data and analytical capability more generally to “monitor and respond to veterans' health and wellbeing needs in real-time”.
Chester sad the data capabilities would allow Defence and DVA to make better policies around whole-of-life health and wellbeing for both current and former ADF members and their families.