GovTech Weekly News Wrap – 23 October, 2020

Weekly news wrap of government technology

NSW releases new purchasing arrangements for cybersecurity contractors; WA to build $13m health and medical “innovation hub”; and Federal Government seeks public input into proposed regulatory principles for emerging tech of “national interest”, including AI and quantum computing. 

Tracking the week that was in tech and digital innovation across Australia and NZ’s public sectors.


  • The Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) is seeking individuals from the public to take part in a trial of the myGov Beta site. The beta platform will offer a testing ground for Jobseeker as well as broader myGov functions.


  • The Federal Government has put to public consultation a set of proposed regulatory principles to help secure the supply chains of “current and emerging technologies that have the capacity to significantly enhance or pose a risk to our national interest”, including artificial intelligence and quantum computing. Submissions are due by 12 November.


  • Australia Post has launched a telematics pilot program with Google Learning giving posties a new tech toolkit to help identify potential on-route hazards or safety issues.



  • The Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) has commenced the first tranche of its multi-year ROBUST program – a self-described comprehensive rebuild of the Bureau’s IT systems and related business processes and applications, promising “continuous availability of critical services, mitigating the risks arising from the fragility of the existing ICT environment”.


  • The Federal Government has gone to market seeking help to design and develop an online digital tool for farmers to assess the risk and impact caused by climate change. The RFT states the new drought resilience self-assessment tool (known as DR SAT) will “aim to strengthen the social, economic and environmental resilience of primary producers by delivering information and support that is meaningful and actionable at the farm level”.


  • The Australian Government is set to launch a new Digital Passenger Declaration (DPD) to facilitate faster entry into the country and speed up efforts at contact tracing in preparation for the opening of Australia’s borders. This digital platform is hoped to be fully operational by October 2021.


  • The Western Australian Government has pledged $13.3 million towards a health and medical “innovation hub” in Perth to nurture ideas from health care innovators, researchers, clinicians and investors. The hub was announced as part of a 2017 election commitment which now forms part of the WA Recovery Plan from Covid-19.


  • Telstra has secured a $328 million deal with the NSW Government to provide more than 2,000 public schools with fibre upgrades promising a tenfold increase in internet speeds. To be rolled out over the next 18 months, once complete, the 5,200km fibre network will be one of the largest in the world, Telstra says.


  • The NSW Government has announced a $192 million investment over five years for new firefighting equipment, including night-time aerial fleet and upgrades to the local emergency infrastructure.


  • The South Australia Government has released its Arts and Culture Digital Access Plan. The Plan is a key output of the South Australian Government’s Arts and Culture Plan South Australia 2019-2024 Objective 4 to “develop and deliver on a state-wide Digital Access Plan for [the state’s] irreplaceable cultural collections.”


  • The Australian Government has updated its National Security Science and Technology Priorities. The update identifies six priority areas, including cybersecurity, intelligence, border security and identity management, investigative support and forensic science, incident response and technology foresight.


  • A new fleet of high-tech drones will be deployed by the Tasmanian Police to support Road and Public Order Services, Forensic Services, Search and Rescue and Marine. The UAVs will be equipped to assist with serious crash and crime scenes, with the ability to assist individuals in remote areas.


  • This week Tasmania hosts Telehealth Awareness Week, shining a spotlight on how video health services can improve healthcare accessibility.


  • The Federal Government is developing a new tool, known as ‘APS Career Pathfinder’, to help employees in the public service explore potential career options in digital. The first stage of the tool has been released for public testing.


  • The New Zealand Government has released a new digital inclusion insights report. Estimates from the report reveal that around 20 per cent of Kiwis are digitally excluded and lack the necessary skills or access to participate online.


  • A new supercomputer developed by Hewlett Packard for the Pawsey Supercomputer Centre, which promises 30 times more compute power than predecessor systems, will be used to power high-impact Australian research projects for CSIRO.


  • A new report commissioned by CSIRO partner, the Future Battery Industry Cooperative Research Centre, has revealed benefits “along the value chain” for battery technologies, which are expected to bring “significant social, environmental and economic benefits, [and place] Australia as a trusted supplier and an exporter of value-added products”.


  • The City of Canterbury Bankstown is trialling smart cameras and AI to identify motorists committing traffic offences in school zones as part of its Smart City program.


  • The Australian Government has added five new members to its “reinvigorated” Industry Innovation and Science Australia (IISA) organisation. The organisation will help deliver the Government’s $1.5 billion Modern Manufacturing Strategy.


  • The Victorian Government, in collaboration with Chargefox, has opened a new ultra-rapid charging station for electric vehicles in Horsham. The charging station forms part of a network connecting Western highway routes between Melbourne to Adelaide.


  • A new $18 million research grant program funded by the Department of Defence and Office of National Intelligence will seek to address intelligence and national security threats to Australia.