GovTech Weekly News Wrap – 2 July

Weekly news wrap of government technology

The Federal Government unveils record $1.3b investment in the nation’s cyber defences and OAIC releases ‘Foundational Four’ data management guidance for agencies. Tracking the week that was in digital and technology innovation across Australia and New Zealand’s public sectors.



The Australian Federal Police has frozen $7.8 million linked to fraudulent IT contracts issued through the Federal Department of Finance. The allegations relate to three public servants believed to have directed IT contracts through preferred suppliers.

The Office of the National Data Commissioner has released its ‘Foundational Four’ guidance to improve agencies’ “data practices” and maximise the use of stored information assets.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced a record investment in the nation’s cyber defences, with more than $1.3 billion earmarked for the Government’s chief cybersecurity agencies, the ASD and ACSC. To be spread over the decade, the cyber spend has been touted as the “nation’s largest-ever investment in cybersecurity”.

Health Minister Greg Hunt has announced a $19 million funding package for medical research in artificial intelligence (AI). The research efforts will go towards the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of a wide range of health conditions through AI-backed systems. Of the funding, more than $8 million will be directed to two AI-backed projects to improve mental health treatments.

The Australian Tax Office website reportedly crashed yesterday as more people race to lodge returns, with tax office’s site experiencing a surge in traffic on the first day of the new financial year.

A fleet of shark-spotting drones will soon patrol the NSW coastline, with the NSW Government announcing an $8 million shark management program based extensive research into shark behaviour.

New legislation will enshrine in law access to broadband services regardless of where a subscriber lives. The Government’s Statutory Infrastructure Provider regime underpins the Universal Service Guarantee, enforcing access provisions for broadband as well as voice telephone services and payphones.

The Department of Defence has upgraded its website, introducing a dedicated ReportCyber service to streamline reporting and tracking of cybersecurity and cybercrime incidents.

Fujitsu Australia has won a $21 million Defence integration contract to help with project delivery for the Defence Department’s IT infrastructure. Under the contract, the Canberra-based arm of Fujitsu will assist with project delivery services by integrating Defence capability into the Department’s Single Information Environment (SIE).

The Australian Government has called upon the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) to oversee the creation of an industry-wide code of conduct for online news platforms to counter “misinformation” and enforce a “consumer-centric” focus. The move follows recommendations by the ACCC in its 2019 Digital Platforms Inquiry.

To support remote working arrangements across the state’s health sector, NSW Health’s digital arm e-Health NSW has equipped more than 140,000 staff with Microsoft Teams, alongside Skype for Business.

The National Library of Australia will invest $8 million over the next two years to upgrade Trove, an online culture and research portal. The overhaul involves a complete reconfiguration of the portal’s frontend and a new Drupal-based content management system.

The Federal Department of Health has extended its IT outsourcing contract with Datacom for another two years, a deal which encompasses ICT infrastructure support and services.

The Morrison Government has designated $1.6 million to enhance cybersecurity programs across Australia’s universities. Funding will go towards a threat intelligence-sharing network, threat modelling, and a national cybersecurity forum.

The Tasmanian Government has updated its cloud policy, relaxing requirements for agencies to use ‘on-island’ cloud services. The Government is adopting a “cloud-first, value-for-money and risk-based approach” to sourcing ICT services and solutions.

The Office of e-Safety Commissioner has received a $10 million funding boost to support its online safety program, noting a dramatic surge in online harm and cyber abuse during Covid-19 lockdowns.

Queensland State Archives will upgrade its online archive catalogue, ArchivesSearch, promising better user interface and search functionality.

Local tech firm Atlassian has committed to becoming the first anchor tenant at the NSW Government’s Tech Central ‘innovation hub’ based in Central Sydney – touted as Australia’s own ‘Silicon Valley’. The hub will be made available for start-ups, scale-ups, and innovation ecosystem partners. The Government has committed $48.2 million to bring the 50,000m2 hub.

Swinburne University of Technology has contracted Software AG to deploy its Cumulocity IoT platform for research and education projects, supporting its research customers across the agriculture, industrial IoT, and manufacturing sectors.

Queensland’s Innovation and State Development Department has announced $3.3 million in funding to build an ‘Agtech hub‘ in the Darling Downs regional centre of Toowoomba. Tenders are now open.

Transport for NSW launched a pilot scheme providing WiFi access for commuters across 19 stations on the state’s Central Coast. The project runs for three years and will allow the agency to collect anonymous data on access and use of the service.

The Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT), IT, Siemens and Festo have signed a strategic Memorandum of Understanding to help support workforce transition to Industry 4.0, including the establishment of an Industrial Digital Innovation Hub within the University’s RMIT Advanced Manufacturing Precinct (AMP).

Businesses will be able to check, test, and promote their COVIDSafe app credentials with the launch of the NSW Government’s online COVIDSafe Check.

The NSW Government has announced it will establish a Cyber Security Vulnerability Management Centre in Bathurst, to be operated by Cyber Security NSW, a dedicated whole-of-government cyber resilience arm for the state. The launch forms part of the Government’s $240 million cybersecurity investment.

New Zealand

Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters and Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker said New Zealand’s hosting of APEC in 2021 will proceed using “virtual digital platforms”.

New Zealand’s Earthquake Commission will invest $3 million to support eight leading scientists at Auckland, Massey, Victoria, Canterbury and Otago universities to research the impact of natural hazards on New Zealanders and establish resilience mechanisms.

The New Zealand Government Procurement and Property group is seeking proposals to build a pool of electric vehicles for government use. Suppliers currently not on the government’s supplier panel can submit proposals through the Electronic Tender Service until 30 July 2020.

The Auckland University of Technology has secured funding to develop a prototype humidifier aimed at reducing the spread of viruses like Covid-19 in hospital settings.