Victoria budget sinks $196m into new digital transformation entity

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Victoria budget sinks $196m into new digital transformation entity

'Digital Victoria' tasked with centralising, simplifying IT services.

The Victorian government has set aside $195.9 million over the next four years to establish a new entity to centralise and simplify its IT services.

Budget papers released on Tuesday indicate the entity, dubbed Digital Victoria, will drive digital transformation across government from the Department of Premier and Cabinet (DPC).

While details are scarce, the government said that the entity would lead to reduced costs, as well as improved service delivery for businesses and individuals.

It is also unclear how the new entity will differ from the government’s existing provider of centralised IT services, Cenitex, though it is likely to have a policy focus.

The initiative also sees the government introduce new performance measures for the delivery of milestones and the takeup of the single digital presence platform for websites.

Aside from Digital Victoria, DPC will also receive $7.5 million this financial year to improve government cyber security controls in a bid to protect public services from cyber attacks.

“World-class technology and software tools will be procured and deployed on public sector networks to defend against malicious software and provide targeted reporting,” the budget states.

The ‘cyber safe Victoria’ initiative also introduced new performance measures around reporting of government cyber maturity and cyber security training of government board members.

The department will receive a further $8.6 million to develop and operate free-to-use digital solutions to help businesses comply with Covid check-in and recordkeeping requirements.

The digital visitor registration solution will sit alongside a business register system and API interfaces that link with the Department of Health and Human Services’ contact tracing system.

Service Victoria, the state’s one-stop shop for digital government transactions, will be provided with $40.5 million over three years, including $5.2 million to digitise business licensing.

Other technology projects

Elsewhere in the budget, the Department of Justice and Community Safety will receive an undisclosed amount to modernise the technology used to manage Victoria’s fines system.

The funding pre-empts a government report into the fines system, which will include a number of recommendations around the infringements enforcement and warrants (VIEW) system.

Last year it emerged VIEW – developed by Civica at a cost of $103 million – was hampering the government’s fine collection efforts, and even forced a $21 million writedown.

Justice will also receive $42 million to upgrade the computer aided dispatch system that supports the Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority’s (ESTA) Triple Zero service.

Victoria Police will receive $299.5 million over the next four years to “implement a range of system enhancements and reforms that will deliver more efficient and effective police operations”.

The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) will receive $30 million this financial year to conduct a clinical technology refresh.

“The network and computer server infrastructure required to support and deliver patient-related services such as pathology, diagnostic imaging and patient management system will be upgraded,” budget papers state.

“This will improve delivery of information related to patient diagnostics and other clinical services and enhance cyber security.”

DHHS and DPC will share $9.8 million to create a “single digital reporting platform containing whole-of-government coronavirus (Covid-19) data to increase the government’s responsiveness”.

Other initiatives funded in the budget include:

  • $42.3 million for the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) to transition the Victorian water register to a new technology platform
  • $35.2 million for the Department of Education and Training to progress the child link register to “enable the systematic sharing of factual information to promote child wellbeing”
  • $11.9 million for the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) to conduct a digital service transformation project and Court Services Victoria to conduct an online courts pilot
  • $24.5 million to allow public school students to “permanently retain school-owned computer[s]… where this is necessary to ensure they are not educationally disadvantaged”
  • $24 million for the Victorian Centre for Data Insights to continue efforts to bring “improved data use, management analytics” to the Victorian Public Service.
  • $7.9 million for the DHHS to continue the operation of the statewide central information point and finalise planned system developments
  • A portion of an $18.8 million electorate office safety and security upgrade package for all Victorian MPs to purchase laptops and other equipment to facilitate remote working
  • $4 million for Justice to upgrade the critical emergency management information and warnings systems, VicEmergency and emergency management common operating picture
  • A portion of an $8.3 million package for Victorian Legal Aid and other frontline legal assistance services to perform a technology upgrade.
  • $3.5 million for an upgrade of audio and broadcasting technology in Parliament over the next four years
  • $2.3 million for DELWP to pilot a digital twin in a bid to “transform Victoria’s management of its built and natural environments using 3D models and spatial data”
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