GovTech Weekly News Wrap – 3 September, 2020

Weekly news wrap of government technology

National auditor uncovers potential instance of fraud within DTA; NSW license data exposed on cloud storage; and Victoria’s Health and Human services agency to establish new CISO role.

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

  • The ANAO, Australia’s national audit office, has unearthed a potential instance of fraud within the DTA during the early build-out of its Digital Marketplace – the agency’s chief procurement platform. The auditor found the DTA had failed to adhere to basic Commonwealth Procurement Rules (CPRs) and could not “fully demonstrate” the marketplace “supported the achievement of value for money outcomes”.


  • More than 100,000 NSW driver’s licenses images, as well as scanned licences and tolling notices were reportedly left exposed on an open Amazon Web Services cloud storage folder, with apparently “no indication as to who might be the owner of the data”.


  • The Department of Defence is seeking partner support to develop a new recruitment system for the Australian Defence Force (ADF). The proposed 10-year, $1 billion contract is expected to produce an “adaptable, scalable, modern, competitive, collaborative, and transparent” recruiting system.


  • Victoria’s Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has announced the creation of a new chief information security officer role in a bid to increase accountability over internal IT security. The position will be notably separate from the Victorian Public Healthcare Sector CISO role currently held by Grant Lockwood.


  • Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) is undertaking a comprehensive rebuild of its IT systems, including related business processes and apps. The program, known as ROBUST, will address security and resilience risks, as well as supporting “continuous availability of critical services”.


  • The NZ Government has launched its 2020 Digital Inclusion Action Plan outlining a range of cross-departmental initiatives focused on boosting digital access, affordability, identity and skills.


  • Transport for NSW has announced winners from its Safety After Dark Innovation Challenge, which presented a range of tech solutions aimed at preventing violence against women on Sydney public transport services. An AI-backed real-time footage analysis system developed through the University of Wollongong was among those awarded top gongs. The top rated innovations will be developed and trialled over the next six months.


  • Financial regulator ASIC has declared a renewed focus on data to inform regulatory decision-making, using automation and artificial intelligence (AI), including machine learning and text and voice analytics solutions, to boost governance practices. ASIC’s latest four-year plan will also address “harms to consumers, investors, and markets that may arise as a result of technological shifts”, the corporate regulator said.


  • The NSW Government will “quadruple” the resources of Cyber Security NSW, announcing $180 million investment over three years to boost the capabilities of the whole-of-government cyber-defence initiative. The dedicated Cyber team is tasked with enhancing security capability across Government, supporting collaborations with emergency management, law enforcement, the private sector and other jurisdictions.


  • Siemens Mobility will implement a new Traffic Management System (TMS) to support train operations across the Sydney Trains network, with the NSW Government awarding the German rail tech developer $80 million to develop and deploy the new system. The TMS continually monitors the position of all trains, supporting on-time running and incident response.



  • The SA Government will begin trialling new ‘tap and pay’ facility on Adelaide trams, allowing travellers to pay fares onboard using their credit card or smart device. A successful trial will likely see the Government extend the roll-out across Adelaide’s public transport network.


  • The Australian Taxation Office has uncovered a bug within Microsoft Office 365 that prevented 20,000 of its staff from forwarding meeting invites to one another for three months.


  • The Department of Defence will explore the use of blockchain to track the provenance of IT products as well as other supply chain risks. Defence will create a proof-of-concept next month to determine the viability of the technology in securing supplier ecosystems and reducing unforeseen security risks.


  • DATAPOD Australia has been awarded a $20 million contract by the Department of Defence to build four mobile data centres. The portable, modular, and containerised systems house a range of Defence ICT equipment and are able to be rapidly deployed at sea, air, or groud.


  • The Federal Government has also announced the establishment of two new collaborative National Blockchain Roadmap Working Groups to support the National Blockchain Roadmap Steering Committee. The Groups will analyse use cases for blockchain in Australia, focusing on supply chains and credentialing.


  • The Queensland Government has released a five-point plan to prevent the targeting of job seekers by scammers. The plan includes a review of penalties for scammers found to have unlawfully deceived jobseekers, as well as the establishment of a dedicated online compliance unit.


  • AustCyber will partner with the Australian Federal Police’s (AFP) National Missing Persons Coordination Centre and Canadian NFP Trace Labs to host the National Missing Persons Hackathon 2020. The Hackathon will be held during Australian Cyber Week on the 29 October 2020. Last year’s event generated close to 4,000 leads on long-term missing persons cases.


  • The Western Australian Government is allocating up to $10 million to support regional digital connectivity under a co-contribution scheme with the Commonwealth. Funding will be available to assist developers with WA-based digital infrastructure solutions. Applications close on October 20, 2020.


  • Launceston will now have free high-speed Wi-Fi accessible across the entire city centre. Delivered under the Federal Government’s Launceston City Deal, the project expands public access to the city’s free Wi-Fi network, with fifty new wireless access points rolled out across the city.


  • A new grants program for defence small businesses will have “cybersecurity at its core”, according to the Department of Defence, providing support of up to $300,000 for up to 18 months for every successful project.


  • The Australian Government has released an updated version of its COVIDSafe app, with improved notifications and support for two new languages.


  • Microsoft will assist Western Australia’s North Metro Health Service (NHMS) in streamlining patient data collection, digitising a number of manual paper processes across Metro Health.


  • The Victorian Government has announced the launch of its Click for Vic website, connecting citizens with local producers, creators, and businesses across the state in an effort to support businesses impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.


  • The NSW Government is working with scientists to develop a range of data-backed solutions to mitigate bushfire threats. The Government has been urged to create a ‘spatial technology acceleration program’, using AI and satellite data to support firefighters with real-time assessment of bushfire risks.


  • An electronic monitoring device trial used to track the movements of domestic violence offenders has been rated a success by the Tasmania Government, with the state recording a 70 per cent reduction of domestic violence assaults.


  • Digital infrastructure in the Goodlands District in WA has been upgraded thanks in part to a bequeathment from a local farmer and technology pioneer, and funding from the Western Australian Government. The upgrade is expected to bring better mobile and data coverage to the district.


  • Engineers from the Department of Defence’s Defence Science and Technology Group (DST) have developed a device that converts common sleep apnoea machines into invasive ventilators that could be used for Covid-19 patients.





  • Victoria’s Minister for Innovation, Medical Research and the Digital Economy, Jaala Pulford, has announced $1.3 million in pre-accelerator funding through the state’s LaunchVic start-up support program, offering grants for up to 700 entrepreneurs.


  • The Federal Government has expanded resources for its dedicated mental health digital hub, Ahead for Business, investing an additional $3.1 in the small business-specific support scheme. Run by Everymind, the hub provides peer-to-peer support forums, wellbeing plans, and support directories for small business owners.