Govtech News Wrap – 8 October, 2021

Weekly news wrap of government technology

DTA reveals first four cloud service providers to be certified at “strategic level” – its the highest level of assurance; The Federal Government invites feedback on the exposure draft of its Trusted Digital Identity Bill, which looks to extend its digital ID system to the private sector; and new research reveals Queensland could add $11b each year to its economy by boosting investments in its innovation hubs.

– New research by the University of Queensland, commissioned by the Queensland Government, has predicted that investments to boost the state’s three most significant innovation precincts could add $11 billion each year and 80,000 new jobs to the state should they reach “global benchmark standards”.

Among the innovation centres flagged by the Government as key hubs include the Herston Health Precinct; the Boggo Road Precinct (which encompasses the Ecosciences Precinct, the Princess Alexandra Hospital and the Translational Research Institute); and the Gold Coast Health and Knowledge Precinct.


– Amazon Web Services, Vault Cloud, Sliced Tech and AUCloud are the first four cloud service providers to be certified by the Digital Transformation Agency to hold protected-level public sector data under its new hosting certification framework.

Certified strategic is the highest level of assurance under the framework, requiring hosting providers and data centres to allow the government to specify ownership and control conditions.


Australia Post has revealed a pilot ‘ruggedised’ smartphone-based solution that could potentially replace up to eight different devices used by staff to service customers across its network.

Developed using VMware Workspace One Launcher, the solution enables staff to digitally capture handwritten sender and receiver labels on parcels, avoiding ‘pen and paper’ entry into its point-of-sale (POS) system; send emails from the front-of-store instead of going into the back office; scan barcodes; and digitise safety and compliance paperwork.


– The NSW Government’s Trade Statement, released late last week, will prioritise several tech industry-friendly initiatives, including the standing up of a dedicated Technology and Services export advisory services team to provide export assistance to critical industries.

The Government will also look to address Australia’s talent shortage crisis, proposing the introduction of a Global Talent Attraction program through its Sydney Start-Up Hub, precinct development projects, and NSW skilled migration programs.

Among the priorities also include the creation of a new e-Commerce Export Program to assist exporters’ shift into fast-growing digital e-commerce platforms, including AliExpress and Amazon.

Exports currently make up around 15 per cent of the state’s economy, representing around $96 billion. The Government has set an “ambitious target” to double exports to $200 billion by 2031.


– The NSW Department of Customer Service has revealed it will roll out DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance) across NSW Local Councils and State-Owned Corporations, following a successful proof of concept in 2018.

The Government has gone to tender seeking vendors to support the DMARC rollout.

The initial proof of concept saw DMARC – an anti-spoofing function that helps to prevent hackers from stealing email sender credentials – implemented across NSW Government clusters.


– The Digital Transformation Agency has released the Federal Government’s exposure draft for its Trusted Digital Identity Bill as it prepares to expand its Digital Identity System to the private sector. The Government has also invited public submissions on the draft bill.

The Government notes that “[legislation] is required to expand the [Digital Identity] System to a whole-of-economy solution. This is so all levels of government and private sector – especially small and medium [businesses], can participate and share in the efficiencies and benefits that Digital Identity will bring for them and the community”.

“The proposed legislation will enshrine in law, privacy and consumer safeguards for greater trust in the System as it expands. This includes more services and sectors, accelerating an economy-wide rollout.”

Minister for Employment, Workforce, Skills, Small and Family Business, Stuart Robert, said the draft legislation “will build on strong safeguards already in place, providing the authority for a consistent set of rules that will protect Australians and Australian businesses.”

The Government is inviting feedback on the draft bill, with submissions open until 27 October.


– The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) is seeking a new research tool, or Customer Experience Management (CXM) platform, that can capture the customer experience of the ATO’s products and services.

“The solution must provide a sophisticated, robust survey tool, which allows for mixed methodology approaches to research and data collection, a user-friendly interface and customised reporting options to support the variety of evolving research and information needs across the organisation into the future,” the request for tender states.

The ATO has requested a “fully customisable, web responsive and accessible” CXM.


– Findings from the second cross-jurisdictional study of community attitudes on access to government information, released by Information Access Commissioners and Commonwealth Ombudsman across the country, has found a significant majority of citizens (between 75 and 86 per cent) expect agencies to publicly report on whether artificial intelligence is used to inform decisions that impact individuals. Between 80 to 86 per cent also expect agencies to publicly report on the information they hold.

The importance of the right to access information was consistently recognised by respondents in each jurisdiction (ranging from 85 to 90 per cent in 2021 to between 85 and 93 per cent in 2019).

A joint statement by the Ombudsmen said: “In a contemporary and increasingly digital environment agencies should adopt an Open by Design approach. By adopting an Open by Design approach, governments can ensure access, openness and transparency as we move increasingly to digital government and data informed decision-making.”


– The WA Government has announced it has commenced work on its $20 million Australian Automation and Robotics Precinct, billed by the Government as “one of the biggest test facilities of its kind in the world”.

The hub, to be located just north of Perth, will provide a testing and research lab to develop automation, remote operation, and robotic systems, providing common user testbeds, as well as research and development facilities for the development of the technologies. The WA Government anticipates the facility will be built within three years, delivering up to 5,000 jobs in robotics, automation, and remote operations.


– The Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) has announced it will open a new Space Weather Hub at Adelaide’s Lot Fourteen.

The Hub, earmarked for a 2022 opening, will draw space weather scientists, researchers and customer engagement specialists from the BoM, with four new positions to be added to the dedicated Space Weather Service; the Bureau said it would host 18 staff at its new Adelaide hub.

Environment Minister Sussan Ley said the new hub would better prepare Australia for a space weather event.

In addition to its weather forecasts, BoM also plays a role in ensuring preparedness for “effects of events that come from beyond the Earth’s atmosphere,” she said. This includes monitoring of solar flares, which can disrupt GPS navigation systems, radio communications and electronics on earth.


– Nearing completion of the first stage of its M365 project to migrate to Microsoft 365, the Sydney Opera House Trust (SOHT) has gone to tender again to help guide phase two: transitioning its on-premises network drives content to Microsoft SharePoint sites and document libraries.

“The SOHT is seeking proposals for both cloud backup and in-place records management under a single contract,” the request for tender states.


– Queensland’s Department of Transport and Main Roads has introduced a new microservices and event-driven architecture (MEDA) platform in partnership with technology consultancy Thoughtworks.

Department of Transport and Main Roads Executive Director (Business) Lance Oswald said the project would enable the Department to build customer-oriented solutions faster and more cost-effectively.


– The New Zealand Government has committed $12 million over the next two years to scale its R&D Innovative Partnerships program in a bid “to encourage global R&D-intensive businesses to develop new ideas and products in New Zealand”.

Two additional partners will join the program – Dawn Aerospace and Merlin Labs – as part of the Airspace Integration Trials Programme to “accelerate the safe integration of advanced drones into our aviation system,” said Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods has announced.


– The Northern Territory Government will work with the CSIRO, alongside industry and engineering firms, to develop a blueprint to assess the viability of a large-scale low emissions Carbon Capture Utilisation and Storage Hub. The hub would be among the world’s largest multi-user, multi-access facilities for carbon capture and hydrogen industry development.

The hub would enable the development of an interconnected hydrogen industry and the utilisation of the carbon captured in other industrial processes, such as production of other non-fossil fuel alternatives for transportation.


– The Queensland Government has prompted millions of citizens across the state with text and recorded voice messages urging them to get vaccinated.

Queensland Health Minister Yvette D’Ath said that “by texting millions of Queenslanders, we’ll reach a lot of people who we might struggle to communicate with in other ways.”

The text will read; “This is a message from Queensland Health. Get your COVID-19 vaccine today. It’s safe, effective and free. Go to If you’ve already been vaccinated, please encourage your family and friends to do so as well. Thanks Queensland!”

D’Ath added that the Government’s promotions “have worked incredibly well to date”.


– The NSW Government’s Murrumbidgee Local Health District (MLHD) and Southern NSW Local Health District (SNSWLHD) have put out the call for clinical coders to join a dedicated panel for its Clinical Coding Department.

“High levels of accuracy in code assignment are critical as coded morbidity data is integral to internal and external performance and reporting functions that support the management of hospital services and patient safety,” the request for tender states.


– The Victorian Government has unveiled a new $1.36 million program to support defence industry companies in moving to digitalise and increase the efficiency of their operations. The Smart Enough Factory program will support defence-specialist SMEs in modernising their design and manufacturing processes, increasing “opportunities to enter defence supply chains”.