GovTech Weekly News Wrap – 10 August, 2020

Weekly news wrap of government technology

The Federal Government releases its $1.7 billion Cyber Security Strategy and WA Health to fast-track electronic records system for 2020 launch.

Tracking the week that was in digital innovations and developments across Australia and New Zealand’s public sectors.

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has granted Leidos a 33-month extension of its end-user technology support services (EUTS) contract. As part of the deal, which will cost the ATO an extra $97.7 million, Leidos said that it will “deliver a modern digital workspace aligned with the ATO’s 2024 Vision program”.


The WA Government has committed $8 million to plan for a new electronic medical records system for the state. A state-wide electronic medical records system was first mooted in the Government’s sustainable health review interim report in 2018 to improve access to patient records.


Four months past its original due date, the Federal Government has released its $1.7 billion 2020 Cyber Security Strategy, which includes new laws to protect critical infrastructure, additional powers for police to target the ‘dark web’, and initiatives to help SMEs improve their cyber resilience.


The NSW Data Analytics Centre has launched its revamped Data.NSW data portal. Based on feedback from users, the redesigned Data.NSW site sports a new homepage, an updated information architecture, and various design tweaks. On a recent blog post, the Government said: “The vision for Data.NSW is to be the main channel for accessing NSW Government open data and data-related guidance for all users, including government workers, members of the public and private.


The Digital Transformation Agency’s Digital Marketplace recently hit a $2 billion milestone. As of 31 July this year, the Marketplace has facilitated $2.2 billion in contracts through AusTender. More than $1.5 billion, or 70 per cent, of these contracts have been awarded to SMEs alone, with the Agency publishing more than 4,300 opportunities through its Digital Marketplace.


Australian State and Federal IT ministers will cooperate on a National Digital Identity Roadmap as part of efforts to align digital identity systems across Australia. The Roadmap will seek consistency and interoperability across jurisdictions on digital identity verification.


The Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) will next year host a two-day drill aimed at strengthening the cyber resilience of the water and wastewater sectors. The agency is inviting government and private sector organisations to participate in the national exercise.


The Australian Federal Police (AFP) reportedly used its voluntary encryption-bypass powers three just times within the last year. The controversial Telecommunications and Other Legislation Act (TOLA) hands powers to agencies and law enforcement to compel tech companies to provide access to encrypted communications.


Following a recent amendment to the Digital Restart Fund Bill, IT projects funded through the NSW Government’s digital restart fund must be vetted by the state’s information and privacy commissioner. The amendment will require the Minister for Customer Service to “obtain and have regard to” privacy advice for each project before approving payment from the fund.


The ACCC will expand its digital platforms inquiry beyond Facebook and Google to include e-commerce giants, eBay and Amazon, as well as “app stores, private messaging services platforms, [and] data brokers”. The ACCC’s newly formed Digital Platforms Branch will provide six reports covering key recommendations from last year’s Digital Platforms Report covering competition, consumer protection, privacy, and media regulatory reform.


The DTA has submitted its new Australian Government Style Manual in beta for public feedback – the first new edition of the Manual in 18 years. In creating the new Manual, the DTA said it had “taken a digital-first approach to make it fit for the digital age”. Feedback can be submitted through the Style Manual’s beta site.


The Australian Data and Digital Council’s future remains under a cloud. Prime Minister Scott Morrison recently announced that the COAG model under which the Council operates would be scrapped and replaced by a new National Federal Reform Council. Established less than a year ago, the Data and Digital Council is currently tasked with creating national API standards to ensure the secure exchange of data between jurisdictions and third parties.


The first locally made ventilators have been delivered as part of the Australian Government’s $3.1 million agreement with Grey Innovation. The medical equipment will be sent wherever needed in Australia to ensure hospitals are “well equipped to withstand future surges in intensive care cases”, said Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, Karen Andrews.


The Australian Government is fast-tracking the rollout of the NT Sun Cable Link, one of the world’s largest dispatchable renewable electricity systems. The Government said the $22 billion investment will generate billions of dollars for the economy and create thousands of jobs in the NT.


The WA Government is developing a $2.3 million online data and case management system to make it easier for people experiencing homelessness to access appropriate accommodation and support. The system will show the availability of beds in real-time and help those experiencing or at risk of homelessness find long-term accommodation.


The Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews has launched a nationwide search for the next 60 ‘Superstars of STEM’. The initiative hopes to give women in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) the skills and confidence to “step into the spotlight” and adopt more visible leadership roles.


Victoria’s Pet Exchange Register will take advantage of Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) to track the provenance of their pets, allowing classifieds websites to automatically verify whether a source number of a breeder or shelter was genuine and valid prior to publishing an advertisement.