The 2021 Federal Budget: what it means for the push towards a digital Government

 

Federal Budget

Government departments have accelerated their digital transformation initiatives due to COVID. The rapid increase of citizens relying on online services has changed how they access Government services and has grown the quantity and quality of data available to departments. This change in behaviour has meant that more accessible, faster, and secure applications are needed to ensure quality services are delivered at scale. The Australian 2021-22 Federal Budget was released earlier this week, but what does it mean for Government Departments in this changed landscape?

Significant funds have been allocated to Government IT projects aimed at “delivering a modern and digital economy to drive Australia’s future prosperity”. The funding covers several areas, including service delivery, cybersecurity, data, and investing in IT skills within Australia.

Federal Budget allocated to Government IT projects

 

Service Delivery

By 2025, the Federal Government aims for all its services to be made digital to deliver better services, policies, and experiences. The Federal budget has pledged $200.1 million to improve the myGov portal to be easier to use and tailored to citizens’ preferences and interactions to support this strategy. Additionally, there is $301.8 million allocated to improving the My Health Record system, increasing virtual healthcare initiatives, and helping COVID-19 testing and vaccinations.

Cybersecurity

As citizens jump online to use services, citizens’ personal data concerns have been of high priority. The creation of a National Security Data Action plan is underway to improve Australia’s data security. It cannot be denied that since the rise of online services, the number of cybersecurity attacks has risen – an important issue that needs to be addressed. The Australian Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) has been provided $1.3 billion to enhance Australia’s national security capabilities. Canberra will also be piloting Cyber Hubs designed to improve the cybersecurity capability of Government departments.

Data

Citizens’ data is highly private, and with the hope to secure citizens’ trust, $11.3 million has been allocated to support the Consumer Data Right rollout. Amongst others, there is a $16.5 million pilot program planned to allow Government data assets to support whole-of-economy reuse and $40.2 million to leverage 90,000 open databases, creating a collaborative public platform.

IT Skills

IT skills are essential for our economic growth. With international border closures affecting the talent available, the Government must support the development of these skills amongst its citizens. There has been a $22.6 million allocation for ‘Next Generation Emerging Technology Graduates’ to fund scholarships. A further $10.7 million is allocated for work-based learning opportunities for in-demand digital jobs and a massive $43.8 million to improve the number of skilled cybersecurity professionals in Australia.

What the Federal Budget highlights

The above is not an exhaustive list of the funds allocated to support technology within Australia but it highlights the important role IT will play in the future of all Government departments. Avocado has been working with Federal, State and Local Government departments for over 16 years, delivering high-profile, complex projects. If you would like to find out more about the Departments we work with and the projects delivered, please reach out to our team today.

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