Govtech News Wrap – 6 May, 2021

Weekly news wrap of government technology

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) flags a major “modernisation” of IT outsourcing; Treasury seeks to lower bar for Consumer Data Right (CDR) accreditation; and the Federal Government reveals plan to create three big brother ‘Cyber Hubs’ to uplift smaller agencies cyber capabilities. 

The Australian Tax Office (ATO) will recontest three major IT managed service contracts (centralised computing, end-user technology, and enterprise service management), kick-starting the agency’s multi-year IT Strategic Outsourcing Program – its biggest shakeup in tech outsourcing in more than a decade.

A Request for Information (RFI) posted on AusTender has sought market engagement “to inform bundle structure, scope, commercials, pricing approaches and procurement strategies”, with a key focus on anticipating how the IT ecosystem will look in 2023.


The Federal Government has earmarked plans to establish three ‘Cyber Hub’ pilots a move that will see big departments, including Defence, Home Affairs, and Services Australia, support smaller ones in cybersecurity provisioning, signalling a clear move away from the government’s unofficial ‘every agency for itself’ strategy.


A audit of Victoria’s Department of Justice and Community Safety’s (DJCS) fines IT system overhaul has found “significant failures” in planning and governance. In a scathing report by the state auditor, the DJCS’s infringements enforcements and warrant (VIEW) system was found to be three times over its original budget and, upon launch, delivered just 5 per cent of its intended functionality. Significant blame was cast on internal failures in IT expertise and leadership.

As a result of the report’s findings, the state’s Auditor-General has called for major reform of the public service and Victorian Government.


The Federal Government is set to invest $67.4 million to “support Australia’s biosecurity preparedness and response capabilities”, including the building and maintenance of a national surveillance information system on the national animal sector and equipment for molecular diagnostics testing, part of a wider $371 million package for biosecurity upgrades.


– Treasury is set to loosen rules for businesses seeking to access data as part of a suite of reforms to the Consumer Data Right (CDR) regime. Oversight of the CDR was recently moved from the ACCC to the Treasury department.

Under the proposed changes, an accredited data recipient (ADR) could give third parties access to the data portability scheme on their behalf. ADRs would also be able to sponsor other parties, such as fintechs, for CDR accreditation.

A proposal to give “trusted advisers”, including lawyers and mortgage brokers, access to their CDR data even when they are not formally accredited, has also been mooted.


Global tech companies appear to be listing themselves as small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) on the NSW Government’s tech procurement platform, buy.nsw, potentially taking advantage of new procurement policies designed to support smaller local firms.

A report by InnovationAus has revealed that global tech giants are registering with their local entities and self-reporting their business information, appearing on the site as SMEs.


Australia’s chief science research agency, the CSIRO, has launched a new space industry startup, Quasar Satellite Technologies, leveraging new satellite tech that could “revolutionise space communication”. Partnering with the Office of the NSW Chief Scientist and Engineering, Vocus, Fleet Space Technologies, Main Sequence, Saber Astronautics, and Celarbox Systems, the new start-up will deliver an “as-a-service” solution for satellite communications, allowing ground stations to talk to hundreds of satellites at once and access data from satellites in low, medium, and geostationary orbit. 
– The Federal Government’s proposed Online Safety Act could give Australia’s eSafety Commissioner sweeping new powers, including the ability to order removal of material deemed to seriously harm adults. Civil liberties groups have challenged the Act, currently before parliament, for tempting significant overreach from the nation’s censors.


The NSW Government is leading a cross-jurisdictional project to develop a national digital birth certificate a “world first”, according to the Government. A proof of concept is set to be launched in the second half of 2021.


IP Australia has released the latest edition of its Intellectual Property Government Open Data (IPGOD2021), a publicly available dataset that includes more than 110 years of information on IP rights applications.


The Department of Health has announced it will extend its Telehealth service until the end of the year.

“The extension will ensure that Australians can continue to see their GP, renew scripts and seek mental health support from the safety of their own homes,” Health Minister Greg Hunt said.


The European Space Agency has announced a collaboration with the Australian Space Agency to construct a new $70 million deep space antenna at New Norcia, 140km north of Perth.