GovTech Weekly News Wrap – 17 September, 2020

Weekly news wrap of government technology

Review concludes hackers made off with more than 700 gigabytes of Service NSW data; Fed Govt announces a public consultation into Data Availability and Transparency Bill; and ASD’s security remit extended to support newly classified ‘critical infrastructure’. 

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

  • The Federal Government has released a voluntary Code of Practice to improve security for Internet of Things (IoT) technologies in Australia, acknowledged as “a first step towards lifting the security of [IoT] devices in Australia”. The ACSC has also developed guidance on the Code of Practice for manufacturers to help them implement these principles.


  • The WA Government has secured a cross-agency deal with Microsoft to access a range of cloud services. The deal covers Microsoft Azure, as well as Teams, Office 365 and Dynamics 365, with agencies also provisioned to access Windows Virtual Desktop.


  • Services Australia has announced a plan to match single touch payroll (STP) data with information from welfare recipients for the first time in a bid to improve welfare integrity.In a request for tender notice, the chief Services agency has also revealed its intention to introduce self-service check-in kiosks as well as track wait times at its service centres in a bid to improve face-to-face citizen service delivery.


  • The Federal Government has announced a public consultation into an exposure draft for the planned Data Availability and Transparency Bill. The Bill will seek to “modernise” the use of data within government, enshrining privacy and security safeguards. Submissions are open until 6 November.


  • A recent review into a security breach of Service NSW last May has revealed hackers made off with more than 738 gigabytes of email data from the agency. Personal data from more than 186,000 customers was exposed in the breach.


  • South Australia’s Auditor General has identified 120 deficiencies across 13 systems within public agencies in its latest annual audit. Most issues related to the management of user access, password and audit logging.



  • The Queensland Government will wind up the Public Safety Business Agency (PSBA) and transfer its functions, which includes the provision of ICT services, back to “relevant public sector agencies”. The PSBA was established by the previous LNP government back in 2014.



  • The telco worked with the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) and Services Australia on the layer 3 blocking effort.


  • The Digital Transformation Agency has debuted its Telecommunications Marketplace, which promises to “[improve] the way government buys digital products and services” from telecommunications product and service providers.


  • Construction has begun on the Australian Space Discovery Centre and a Mission Control Centre in Adelaide, due to open in the first half of 2021. The Space Discovery Centre will showcase interactive space exhibits and a careers hub, while Mission Control will provide facilities for researchers to control satellite and space missions.


  • The Australian Public Service Commission (APSC) has released updated guidance for APS employees and Agencies on social media conduct. The APS acknowledged that the fundamental rights of employees to participate in online communities must be balanced with their obligations as public servants.


  • The Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) has released a new update to the COVIDSafe app. The update will provide real-time statistics to Australians on case numbers in each state and territory.


  • Cybersecurity firm archTIS has won a $4.2 million contract with the Department of Defence (DoD). The contract, the company’s largest to date, includes performing a risk reduction activity for multi-national information sharing and cross-domain services.


  • The WA Government and mining industry body Austmine have released a new virtual digital mining hub in an effort to build export capacity, knowledge and opportunities for mining technology, equipment and services-focused SMEs.


  • The QLD Government will invest $2.5 million in another 13 electric vehicle charging stations along Queensland’s Electric Vehicle Super Highway (QESH), touted as the “world’s longest electric vehicle highway in a single state”.


  • The QLD Government has put a call out for renewable energy generation and storage providers to contribute new ‘Renewable Energy Zones’ across the state.


  • The NSW Government has created a new artificial intelligence (AI) strategy hoped to deliver “smarter and better services” for NSW citizens. The strategy will also prioritise the development of AI skills as well as the trusted and transparent use of the technology in government, said Minister for Customer Service Victor Dominello.


  • New research by NBN Co has found that increased connectivity could add over $15 billion to the Australian agriculture sector every year. Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts, the Paul Fletcher said that increased connectivity could enable more than 85,000 farm businesses to take advantage of new technologies for decision making, including AI for real-time monitoring of soil moisture sensors and autonomous irrigation systems.


  • The SA Government has announced an $870 million national AgTech wine project in conjunction with Wine Australia. The project will aim to demonstrate the capabilities of various AgTech solutions to assist with increasing productivity for grape and wine producers.





  • The TAS Government has proffered expressions of interest to develop a streamlined ticketing system for Metro Tasmania, set to be the first integrated ticketing system operating across an entire Australian state.


  • ACT Health has developed a new contact tracing app for the Canberra area. Dubbed ‘Check In CBR’, a QR-code based check-in system, invites users to upload their visits to public venues across Canberra.


  • The SA Government is awarding grants of up to $10,000 to sheep and cattle producers to encourage the uptake of AgTech as part of the $7.5 million Red Meat and Wool Growth Program.


  • The DPMC’s National Office for Child Safety has launched a new website offering new resources to support child safety, including a range of new support services.