GovTech Weekly News Wrap – 23 July, 2020

Weekly news wrap of government technology

WA Health systems breached, DFAT slashes IT workforce, and NSW launches local tech industry-boosting Taskforce.

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

More than 400 pages worth of confidential medical data from WA residents has been leaked online, with WA Health systems reportedly breached by an individual “under the age of 16”. The stolen data, which was subsequently posted to a public-facing website, appeared to have been distributed over a paging service operated by Vodafone.


Budget bungles within DFAT have resulted in massive cuts to its IT contractor workforce. iTnews reports upwards of 30 IT contractors have been terminated from the Department’s Information Management & Technology Division in two rounds of cuts.


The Department of Health has called upon platform developers to help implement a new integrated data and analytics human resources (HR) system, connecting data repositories from across the DoH and external agency systems.


The NSW Government has launched a new ICT and Digital Sovereign Procurement Taskforce in an effort to boost capacity and capability within the local ICT industry and extend government supply opportunities for SMEs. Stakeholders will have an opportunity to provide feedback on the Taskforce’s focus areas until 7 August.


The Federal Government has earmarked nearly $20 million to progress the implementation of the Consumer Data Right (CDR) over the next 12 months. Open Banking, the first cab off the rank for the CDR scheme, officially launched on 1 July this year.


The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has extended its managed network services contract with Optus for another 18 months at a cost of $141.5 million while it continues to search for other providers for its new multi-sourcing arrangement. Optus has held the contract for more than a decade.


The NSW Government recorded a seven-fold, year-on-year increase in the use of virtual health services between February and May this year – the height of the initial Covid lockdown. Off the back of these figures, the Berejiklian Government said it would investigate the further roll-out of virtual healthcare services across the state.


The Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) has invited hardware and software sellers to Government to join its newly overhauled Marketplace panels, offering placements across five separate product and service categories: end-user computing; enterprise computing; video collaboration systems; mobile and smart devices; and commercial off-the-shelf software and/or related services. Sellers can register through AusTender (hardware & software).

A report has revealed a five-fold increase in the dollar value of contracts awarded by the DTA to tier one management consultants since the agency was moved under the Government Services portfolio of Minister Stuart Robert last May.


More than 30 countries’ health service agencies, including Australia’s Digital Health Agency, have shared crucial information on their respective digital health programs, detailing efforts, processes and procedures to improve patient health outcomes. The Global Digital Health Partnership (GDHP) published four separate white papers addressing key strategies and offering guidance for health agencies on digital health enablers.


With malicious cyber actors continuing to take advantage of Covid uncertainty, the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner has joined government representatives from the Global Privacy Assembly’s International Enforcement Cooperation Working Group urging video teleconferencing companies to adopt key principles to identify and address privacy risks and boost personal data protection provisions.


The Tasmanian Government has completed its rollout of 751 body-worn cameras to frontline police officers across the state, investing $3.4 million in the initiative. Axon Public Safety was commissioned to deliver the hardware and supporting digital evidence solutions.


Upon its completion in 2026, the CSIRO will relocate up to 450 staff and researchers to a new, purpose-built, 18,000m² facility based within the Western Sydney Aerotropolis. On announcing the new research hub, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian declared the Aerotropolis a “focal point for Australian innovation, research and productivity”.


Female entrepreneurs and founders will have a new online hub to access funding sources, networks, mentors and various business support tools, with Federal Government’s Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources partnering with the CSIRO to launch the Expert FindHer Resources Directory.


A senior analyst at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute’s International Cyber Policy Centre has urged the Federal Government to adopt a ‘clean pipes’ cybersecurity strategy, incentivising Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to boost default cybersecurity controls (potentially automatically blocking dangerous sites and sharing information among themselves) in an effort better protect Australian businesses from cyber-attack.


The ACT Government will introduce a new HR information management system based on SAP’s SuccessFactors, replacing a longstanding “pure payroll” legacy system.


RMIT Online and the Digital Health Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) will offer three micro-credential courses in digitally enabled healthcare, giving government health officials and employees an opportunity to upskill in technology-enabled care, healthcare design, and digital health strategy.


Researchers from the CSIRO’s Data61, have developed a solution, dubbed Void (Voice liveness detection), to protect consumers from voice spoofing attacks. The software plug-in can be embedded into smartphones or voice assistant firmware to detect when hackers are attempting to spoof a system.


The Federal Government has formally agreed to develop a new Defence and Maritime Innovation and Design Precinct in Launceston, Tasmania, effectively “expanding the capability of the Australian Maritime College (AMC)”.  The new precinct will focus on maritime-specific solutions as well as “a broad range of science and technology capabilities”.


The WA Government has awarded local telecom CipherTel a contract to build out “high-speed, enterprise-grade broadband services” to 50 agribusinesses and residents across the regional centre of Carnarvon. The Government has earmarked $600,000 for the program – the second round of funding under its Digital Farm Grants program. So far under the scheme, more than 1,200 agribusinesses, across more than 41,000 square kilometres have been connected to high-speed broadband.


A SA Government-led survey of more than 600 South Australian primary producers has found that more than half are failing to invest in on-farm technology, with one in five expressing no intention to invest in AgTech. The SA Government said it regards AgTech as key “to enhancing the productivity, profitability and sustainability” of the state’s agricultural sector. In an effort to boost the uptake of AgTech across the sector, the Government plans to establish AgTech demonstration sites in the state’s South East and Riverland regions, as well as an AgTech hub in conjunction with University of Adelaide’s ThincLab research lab.