GovTech Weekly News Wrap – 19 November, 2020

Weekly news wrap of government technology

NSW announces tech priorities in pandemic-focused state Budget; Australia’s Digital Health Agency puts call out to industry to help deliver the first phase of its infrastructure modernisation program; and Tasmania announces a $135 million investment in Government ICT service delivery.

  • The Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) has called on developers to help replace current gateway services for national digital healthcare infrastructure, including the My Health Record system – the first phase of a wider program of work to modernise Australia’s digital health infrastructure and provide “a framework for future innovation”.


  • Transport for NSW is trialling machine learning technology from Microsoft to detect crash blackspots and initiate remediation works more quickly.


  • The Tasmanian Government has announced a $135 million investment in Government ICT service delivery, including $4.9 million over four years for a whole-of-govt Cyber Security Program. The program will seek to strengthen cyber resilience, investing in upskilling initiatives for cybersecurity professionals.


  • The NSW Government released its pandemic-focused Budget on Tuesday, revealing a slew of initiatives to be funded under the state’s $1.6 billion digital restart fund, including $240 million to invest in cybersecurity over the next three years, most notably $60 million for Cyber Security NSW to expand its remit and staffing.


  • The Federal Government has released a discussion paper seeking input on a $22 million 5G Innovation Initiative exploring future use cases for 5G, including Internet of Things (IoT) applications.


  • A new report released by CSIRO and the Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade) has found that data science and digital technologies could play a central role in accelerating Australia’s post-pandemic economic recovery. Data61 Director, Jon Whittle noted the possibilities of “artificial intelligence, robotics and data science” capabilities in helping to “create new sources of wealth generation for the nation”.


  • In a submission to Home Affairs, peak body The Australian Information and Industry Association (AIIA) has cautioned the Federal Government against rushing through legislation on protections of critical infrastructure/systems of national significance, requesting more industry consultation and clarity on measures around ‘Data and the Cloud’.


  • Australia Post is reportedly using machine learning to predict mail volumes, trialling a new function to predict delivery times.


  • Service NSW is anticipating more than $7 million in legal and investigative costs following a cyber-attack in April this year; however, it notes that there remains no evidence that customer account data was compromised in the attack.


  • A recent report by the Ponemon Institute has found that the shift to a remote working has “significantly reduced” the effectiveness of organisations’ security postures, suggesting that Government agencies in particular remain reluctant to strengthen password practices.


  • The Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) has launched a new campaign warning public sector employees of the risks and threats of foreign interference.


  • The Federal Government has rejected most of the 14 recommendations from a Parliamentary inquiry into 5G, including a recommendation to manufacture 5G infrastructure locally. The Government said telecommunications equipment vendors are not interested in producing this infrastructure in Australia.


  • The Federal Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction has announced a plan to trial various EV charging methods across 300 households in New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria and South Australia.


  • The Australian Government will host the Global Innovation Summit 2020 for healthcare innovation virtually. The event will explore tech during and in the post-Covid recovery.


  • The Victorian Government has released a new app to help train shearers in the state. The Shearing Training App includes instructional videos and training models, alongside face-to-face training.


  • The Australian Government has come to a $1 billion agreement with Seqirus to develop a high-tech vaccine manufacturing facility in Melbourne to continue to supply critical health products such as influenza vaccines and antivenoms.


  • The Victorian Government will invest $20 million in zero-emission buses in a three-year state-wide trial that will help the state achieve its goal of zero net emissions by 2050.


  • A grant from the Australian Space Agency will allow artificial intelligence (AI) company Akin to expand capacity in the space industry and create software for a prototype AI space crew to assist with “complex test procedures”.