Govtech News Wrap – 26 August, 2021

Weekly news wrap of government technology

SA launches its ’21-22 Strategic Plan, committing to a new whole-of-government digital inclusion strategy; DTA anoints three data centre providers to its “highest level of data centre certification”; and Federal Government invests in  5G projects, including a Nokia-led National 5G Industrial Incubation Lab.

– The Federal Government has outlined a $20 million program to fund 19 separate 5G projects across the country, including a $1.9 million National 5G Industrial Incubation Lab in South Australia, to be led by Nokia, developing rail safety and energy management technologies.

Among the other initiatives include a project for a Remote Controlled ‘Firefighting Tank’, using 5G to support long-range, autonomous firefighting in difficult terrain, a 5G-enabled livestock counting project, and a telecommunications infrastructure for Unmanned Aircraft Vehicles in remote and unserviceable locations, allowing “precise monitoring of… medicines and temperature of cargo during critical medical supply delivery”.


– Australian legislators have granted authorities “extraordinary” new online account takeover powers, a report by iTnews has revealed, following the passing of legislation designed to tackle serious criminal activity online.

The Surveillance Legislation Amendment (Identify and Disrupt) Bill 2020 grants the Australian Federal Police and Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission unprecedented powers to combat serious crime enabled by anonymising technology using three new warrants: network activity, data disruption and account takeover.


– The Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) has identified conflict of interest issues on the first tranche of the Defence Department’s Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) overhaul program.

The multi-billion ERP program involves the consolidation of hundreds of separate Defence ICT applications into a single SAP S/4HANA system. The audit challenged the decision-making powers granted to contractors on the project, noting these changes had caused “real and perceived conflicts of interest”.

It acknowledged that while Defence’s administration of Tranche 1 has been largely effective, “there is scope for [the Department] to improve program governance arrangements”, singling out “the management of probity and the management of conflicts of interest in decision-making arrangements for varying contracts”.


South Australia’s Department of the Premier and Cabinet has released its Strategic Plan 2021-2022, covering wholesale economic growth initiatives and whole-of-government efficiency programs for the state.

Among the key digital initiatives outlined in the roadmap include the establishment of a security operations centre model, the delivery of a new ‘Data Strategy’, and the development of a whole-of-gov digital inclusion strategy and roadmap to improve digital services accessibility.


– The Federal Government has granted data centre providers NextDC, Equinix and Fujitsu ‘strategic hosting provider’ certification under its hosting certification framework.

The trio join Canberra Data Centres (CDC), Macquarie Telecom, and Australian Data Centres (ADC), which became the first three providers to be certified by the Digital Transformation Agency in June.

‘Certified Strategic’ status is considered the highest level of data centre certification attainable, available only to providers that allow the Government to specify ownership and control conditions.

The framework ensures increased security provisions to protect privacy and improve resilience, by assessing and certifying all direct and indirect providers of hosting and related data centre services to Government.


– The Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) is holding a nationwide online survey on its National Digital Health Strategy 2022-2027, scheduled to launch by mid-2022.

In a statement, the ADHA said: “At this time when technology is even more important than ever to healthcare, consumers, healthcare providers, industry and researchers can influence the future of digitally enabled healthcare in Australia.”


ACCC chair Rod Sims has urged regulators worldwide to “rectify the dominance” of Apple and Google in app marketplaces, calling for new rules and regulations, in addition to enforcement action by competition regulators worldwide, to counter anti-competitive behaviour by the bigtechs.

Speaking at the Global Competition Review webinar, Sims urged for greater “international coherence and alignment on both regulatory and enforcement approaches”, with the ACCC remaining “in close contact with our counterparts working on these issues overseas”. The move follows the introduction of laws in the US last week to address anticompetitive behaviour by dominant mobile app marketplaces.


– The NSW Government has released a cloud purchasing arrangement through its eTendering platform to select suitable Cloud Service Providers (CSPs) to supply Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and associated professional services to NSW Government using the Digital.NSW Cloud Framework. Through this, the DCS will establish head agreements with the preferred supplier under which customer contracts and orders are placed.


NSW Local Government has released its 2021 Regional Telecommunications Review Issues Paper for public consultation.

The review will consider the impact of policies and programs to improve regional connectivity and digital inclusion, the changing digital needs of regional communities and the role of telecommunications in supporting broader regional development goals.

The local government authority will also host a series of online workshops in late August and early September to support the consultation process.


– The Federal Government has announced plans to invest $2.2 million in a cloud-based connections simulation tool for the energy grid to support the objectives of the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO).

The tool will enable developers of new power generation projects, including renewable generators and network companies, to simulate how these new projects will impact the grid, which the Government said would expedite the project application and approvals process.


– Cloud computing specialist, VMware, has announced it has been IRAP assessed to process Australian Government data at ‘protected’ level. The assessment covers VMware Cloud on AWS – a jointly engineered service from AWS and VMware.

Following its IRAP certification, VMware said public sector customers now have the opportunity “to accelerate their cloud migration”, enabling its government customers “to migrate apps rapidly, scale resources up or down based on demand, deliver resources for new remote work initiatives, and drive app modernisation strategies”.


Victoria’s State Emergency Service has released an Expression of Interest for a new Health and Wellbeing (HWB) platform capable of hosting as well as collecting, managing and analysing data. The HWB team is seeking further information on a “range of online resources/platforms” in the market to assist the agency in delivering its health and wellbeing strategy.


– The Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) is tracking three ProxyShell vulnerabilities in Microsoft Exchange Servers that allow for unauthenticated remote code execution and arbitrary file upload with elevated privileges. Microsoft released patches to these vulnerabilities in April and May 2021.


– The City of Holdfast Bay (CHB) council, based in central Adelaide, has gone to tender seeking an IT Managed Service Provider (MSP) partner to “proactively deliver high quality, stable, secure and responsive IT Services that represent value for money”. The MSP must work effectively with CHB and other IT suppliers including third-party Software as a Service (SaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS) partners, such as Microsoft 364.


Manningham Council, based in Melbourne’s North East, has leveraged Dynamics 365 as part of its cloud-based modernisation program. The program has powered the Council’s Snap Send Solve app, a citizen reporting function allowing individuals to snap and submit photos of areas of concern, which then automatically triggers a workflow on the council’s back-end platform. Further, the Council said it can now fast-track the creation rich reports within hours, covering six separate channels with data that is updated every night.


– A new ‘one-stop-shop’ smartphone app, Oz Truck App, co-developed by the Victorian Government and designed with female truckers firmly in mind, will provide 24/7 emergency support during breakdowns and crashes, as well as an online forum for drivers to provide peer support, health and wellbeing information, and petrol station, weighbridge and rest-stop finders.

The app was developed after research undertaken at Wodonga TAFE identified negative cultural perceptions of women in the freight and logistics industry – with women reporting intimidation and bullying by male counterparts, and a desire for more support and training for new female drivers and those of diverse backgrounds.


– The WA Government has confirmed it is in final contract negotiations with ADCO Constructions to deliver its “state-of-the-art” METRONET Public Transport Operations Control Centre (PTOCC).

The project, worth around $50 million and jointly funded by the state and Federal governments, supports METRONET’s future High-Capacity Signalling project – a decade-long digital signalling upgrade that will support increased train frequency on Perth’s suburban rail network.

The PTOCC will include a centralised signalling equipment room, network control floors and office space, housing infrastructure and personnel needed across Perth’s public transport network.


– The Sydney Opera House (SOH) authority has gone to tender seeking new website middleware that would decouple Tessitura, its e-commerce platform, from its existing Content Management System. The SOH says its current arrangement is “not optimal for performance and [takes] development focus away from implementing new features”.


– The Queensland Government will mandate the use of its Check In Qld app for taxis, limousines and rideshare operators across the state from 30 August to assist with contact tracing efforts.

In announcing the new mandate, QLD Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk cited the alleged index Covid-19 Delta case in NSW: “The first case in NSW’s spiralling outbreak was a Bondi limousine driver who transported flight crews.”