Govtech News Wrap – 12 August, 2021


WA Govt departments face auditor scrutiny for lax staff off-boarding processes; TfNSW goes to tender for new SaaS solution, while current hybrid cloud migration project faces cost, delivery time blowouts; and ACSC issues alert on LockBit 2.0 ransomware.

– Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar has hailed Census 2021 a “success”, with the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) confirming it received an estimated 6.2 million Census forms by 8am Wednesday – with at least 6.1 million forms submitted online through the Census digital service.

No interruptions, excessive wait times, or security breaches were reported by the ABS, Sukkar said.


– A recent ‘staff exit’ audit by WA’s Office of the Auditor General (OAG) has exposed access management vulnerabilities across three assessed government departments (Planning, Lands and Heritage; Finance; and Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries), with the auditor finding that ex-staff had retained access to IT systems up to five months after they had left their respective departments.

The Auditor General’s report, released last week, revealed it had taken “between two and 161 days to deactivate or withdraw access to information systems after staff left the entity”.

“This increases the risk of unauthorised access and can compromise the confidentiality, integrity and availability of the entities’ information.”


An earlier audit by WA’s OAG also flagged concerns around the use of data from the state’s SafeWA contact-tracing app, noting “limited communication” from WA Health on how it has utilised personal information drawn from the app.

The audit also confirmed a previously reported finding that the WA Police Force had ordered access to SafeWA app data on six separate occasions and had requested access on one occasion before the Government legislated to close this loophole.

“WA Health ultimately provided access in response to [three] of the orders before the State Government passed urgent legislation to prevent this from occurring in the future and to align with the publicly stated purpose of the data only being used for Covid-19 contact tracing.”

The audit also identified a “system outage” caused by “poor management of changes after the initial release of SafeWA”, that it said had put the availability of SafeWA at risk.


Western Australia’s Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER) is set to develop a new one-stop digital platform to expedite environment assessments and approvals, partnering with tech developer Insight, geospatial consultancy NGIS, and Microsoft.


– A hybrid cloud migration, a key transformation pillar within the Transport for NSW (TfNSW), is facing significant delays and cost blowouts, a report by iTnews has revealed.

The 10-year deal with Indian IT services provider Wipro has also now jumped to $158 million – an increase of more than 40 per cent since the contract was first signed in November 2018, with the project also expected to miss its September completion date by several months.


TfNSW has also put out a request for tender, seeking the provision of a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solution that provides end-to-end support of a Secure Cloud Proxy.

Meanwhile, fellow NSW transport agency, Sydney Trains is also seeking qualified suppliers to replace its existing ePins platform with a new Fare Compliance Management Solution.

The Fare Compliance Management Solution (FCMS) would enable Sydney Trains’ transport officers to issue penalty/caution notices wirelessly, search the previous database of offences, and record their daily activities in an electronic journal on their Android Smartphones.


– The ACCC has launched separate proceedings in the Federal Court against Telstra, Optus Internet, and TPG Internet for allegedly making “false or misleading representations in their promotions of some 50Mbps and 100Mbps NBN plans”, in breach of the Australian Consumer Law.


– A report by the Joint Standing Committee on Migration has urged the Federal Government to scrap the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) list to ensure current skills gaps can be filled.

ANZSCO is a list of occupations forming the basis for the current skilled migration program, and has had no major change since 2006.

Key tech companies were among a number of organisations that criticised the list for contributing to hiring difficulties.

The release of the full report comes just six months after Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs Alex Hawke first requested for inquiry.

The Committee noted the “significant issues related to the Covid-19 pandemic and the resultant effects on the skilled migration program”.

Committee chair Julian Leeser noted that since the pandemic began, more than 500,000 temporary migrants have left Australia and a further 77,000 people are expected to leave Australia in the 2021-22 financial year.


Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) has released a new report, urging government and online platform providers to collaborate to fight disinformation online. ASPI put forward a case for the government to develop policies and initiatives that offer digital entrepreneurs pathways that reward ethical content creation.

“The influencer economy could be encouraged to self-regulate through the development of codes of conduct,” the report notes.

ASPI also urged for political representatives to commit “to not using networks of inauthentic, fake, or repurposed social media accounts to manipulate political discourse”.


– The NSW Government is set to extend the trial of its Digital Photo Card, adding 140,000 more customers from Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains.

The trial allows those with a plastic NSW photo card ID to access a digital version through the Service NSW app.

The move follows a successful trial of the Digital Photo Card in the Penrith and Blacktown areas, which saw the participation more than 6,000 people, with positive feedback recorded from “98 per cent of participants”.

Plastic photo card holders in the trial areas will be able to use their mobile device with businesses who check ID, such as pharmacies, liquor stores and major retailers.


– The ACSC has warned of a surge in reports of Australian organisations impacted by LockBit 2.0 ransomware, with multiple industry sectors reporting occurrences. In addition to the encryption of data, victims have received threats that data stolen during the incidents will be published.


– The Northern Territory Government has upgraded its Covid Check-In app with a ‘digital doorman’ function, allowing venues and businesses to check-in patrons without a smartphone or device.

“This new functionality is also great news for our contact tracers, who will no longer need to go through pages of paper if an exposure site is called. Now a contact list can be generated at the push of a button.”


– The Federal Government has announced a “sevenfold increase” in public charging stations for electric vehicles (EVs) as part of the first round of its Future Fuels Fund. The new EV charging stations cover the Geelong, Newcastle, Wollongong, and the Sunshine Coast regions.

Five companies will build a total of 403 stations, all powered by renewable energy.


– The Federal Government has selected Lockheed Martin Australia and Northrop Grumman Australia to continue to the final stage of the competitive evaluation process for the Defence Force’s new Joint Air Battle Management System.

The $2.7 billion investment in a sovereign Joint Air Battle Management System connects ships, aircraft and other capabilities together “in a way that multiplies their defensive power”, the Government said.

Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price said the companies “demonstrated the best understanding of its capability requirements, as well as a strong commitment to developing Australian industry capability”.

Boeing Defence Australia and Raytheon Australia also participated in the first stage of the competitive evaluation process, and will continue to be involved in developing the Joint Air Battle Management System and supporting the Integrated Air and Missile Defence Program.


– The Federal and Victorian Governments are trialling new road-based technologies in regional Victoria, including the installation of tactile LED pavings at pedestrian crossings in Bendigo and Trafalgar and trials of glow-in-the-dark line marking and signage.

The program is part of a $3 billion commitment by the Federal Government for a nationwide Road Safety Program.