Budget 2023-24: more than $2bn for ICT investments

The Federal Government will allocate more than $2 billion to digital health and ICT projects as part of its 2023-24 Budget, including new digital solutions aimed at improving service delivery for the health sector and modernising outdated legacy platforms and IT systems.

As part of the Budget’s preface, finance minister Katy Gallagher said the Government’s targeted investments in data and digital capability were a “foundational building block” that would enable the Australian Public Service (APS) to improve service delivery.

Under the Data and Digital Government Strategy – with the final strategy and accompanying implementation plan to be informed by public consultation and delivered by the end of 2023 – there will be a further focus on stronger long-term policy and service delivery, with commitments to better “manage, share, integrate and analyse data, leverage digital technologies, and create seamless digital information and services”.

The Strategy will also aim to accelerate the Government’s uptake of data and digital capabilities to drive more cost-effective data and digital investment.

The Government noted in the Budget the critical importance of cybersecurity, with ongoing work to help combat scams and online fraud, and emphasised the importance of a digital identity system, including future investments in the Digital ID program and the ongoing operation and development of myGov ID.

A little over $134 million will be provided to the Office of the eSafety Commissioner to continue to support Australians online through enhanced education, outreach and investigatory activities.

Following this, with the Government flagging significant investment in eHealth, will be the expansion in the availability of general practice telehealth consultations through MyMedicare.

Additionally, it was recognised that the digital health platform has not kept pace with changing health needs and models of care. As a result, the Government will invest $429 million to modernise My Health Record and support easier, more secure data sharing across all healthcare settings.

Another area of focus will be the modernisation of myGov, Australia’s largest government digital platform with more than 25 million active accounts. The Government said it remained committed to delivering a secure platform that would provide easy access to government services and capabilities to securely store and manage government-issued credentials, such as Medicare and concession cards.

Critical technology industries

Under the 2023-24 Budget, the Government will provide $101.2 million to support the growth of critical technologies for the country’s future prosperity, including quantum and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies.

This will see the development of a Critical Technologies Challenge Program, beginning with a focus on quantum computing and culminating in the creation of a National AI Centre. It will also create an Australian Centre for Quantum Growth to help connect and amplify Australia’s quantum ecosystem.

The Budget will also provide $23.4 million to support small businesses in building resilience to cyber threats as well as a further $86.5 million to protect citizens against scams.

This will include scam detection and disruption measures, including a $58.0 million allocation to deliver on its commitment to establish a National Anti-Scam Centre. A further $17.6 million will be assigned to help take down investment scam and phishing websites, and another $10.9 million will go to launching and maintaining an Australian SMS Sender ID Registry, which will help prevent scams that imitate key industry or government brand names in text message headers.

As part of the 2023-24 Budget, the Government will also invest $26.9 million to develop and maintain the next stage of the Digital ID program. $325.7 million will go to building out the Australian Digital Health Agency as a steward of the nation’s digital health infrastructure.

On top of $429 million to maintain and enhance the My Health Record system and $69.7 million for other digital health initiatives, the Government has also provisioned funding for the next Digital Health Intergovernmental Agreement to be made with all states and territories.