Govtech Weekly News Wrap – 25 March, 2021

Weekly news wrap of government technology

Privacy commissioner and medical authorities urge for added safeguards on Fed Govt’s Data Availability and Transparency Act as concerns mount over sharing of identifiable data; AEC rejects proposal for an external audit of systems; and cybersec spend set to top $4.9 million this year.

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

  • The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) has urged the government to introduce additional safeguards to ensure agencies share only de-identified data in a submission to a senate review into the Data Availability and Transparency Bill.


  • The Australian Medical Association has also expressed concern over the new data-sharing provisions, which could see private health data shared with insurance firms. The legislation seeks to expand the sharing of public sector data between agencies and private organisations, sometimes without consent.



  • The Australian Public Service Commission (APSC) APS Workforce Strategy has identified a dearth of qualified data professionals and digital skills deficits across Australia’s public sector.


  • The Victorian Government will provide nearly one-third of the funding for the state’s $23 million Digital and Bio Innovation Hubs. The hubs will focus on the development of innovative products like anti-viral medication, water treatment solutions, and portable farm technology.


  • Australian Electoral Commission chief Tom Rogers has rejected a proposal to allow a non-government researcher to conduct a security audit on its systems, stating unequivocally that the AEC has “an incredibly robust system in place”.


  • Australian spending on cybersecurity is expected to top $4.9 billion in 2021, according to Gartner, a year-on-year increase of 8 per cent. Cloud security is expected to be the highest growth segment in cyber this year, with an anticipated 33.8 per cent jump to $15 million.


  • The Australian Government has launched new digital tools on its website, including interactive market insights, as well as trends and information on grants, funding, local laws and regulations, distribution and shipping.



  • The Queensland Government is supporting WearOptimo to create and develop an innovative wearable health device. The device can detect dehydration and could replace frequent blood testing for various diseases.


  • The Australian Government has awarded a $400 million contract to Quintessential Equity to create a new Entrepreneur and Innovation Centre.


  • The South Australian Government is trialling the use of military-grade thermal imaging cameras to detect feral pigs on Kangaroo Island, which pose a significant threat to native vegetation and animals.


  • The Queensland Government will invest up to $4.7 million in sports-tech companies, businesses and local governments to develop new services and products that encourage physical fitness.


  • The CSIRO has developed a shape-shifting robot in collaboration with the University of Oslo. The robot can attempt difficult tasks such as inspecting failed nuclear reactors and space exploration.



  • The Australian Government has earmarked $1 million to invest in two Australian space technology businesses as part of its Moon to Mars Supply Chain Capability Improvement program. The first round of grants will aid two businesses in tapping into national and international space supply chains.