WA govt opens wallet to give digital office funding certainty

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WA govt opens wallet to give digital office funding certainty

Four years, $34.7 million.

The WA government has committed $34.7 million to its Office of Digital Government (ODG) to continue the state’s digital reform agenda over the next four years.

The funding, to be provided in next month’s state budget, will allow the office to continue operating beyond the end of this financial year.

The office was established as a business unit within the state’s Department of Premier and Cabinet (DPC) last July to replace the former Office of the Government Chief Information Officer.

The move followed a 2017 review of the WA public sector recommending the policy functions held by the CIO office shift to “a discrete office” with DPC as part of a carve up of the office.

The review also highlighted ongoing concerns around funding that first came to light in September 2016.

However, the question of funding had not been resolved, and the office has operated on a $7.4 million lifeline over the last year while the government considered its response to the review.

Annoucing the new funding on Monday, Minister for Innovation and ICT Dave Kelly talked-up what he described as “ongoing funding” for the office as recognition that “digital transformation is fundamental to a modern, efficient public sector”.

He pointed to it being the first time a WA government had been provided ongoing funding for a digital reform agenda

"The previous Liberal National Government only temporarily funded digital reform at the tail end of their time in government," he said.

"Their short-sighted neglect left us with a budget black hole and a lot of work to do to make sure the WA public sector can meet community expectations.

He said the funding would be used by the office to improve online service delivery, introduce higher cyber security standards, enhance data protection and sharing, and implement IT procurement reforms.

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