GovTech Weekly News Wrap – 4 June

Weekly news wrap of government technology

Federal agencies under fire for lacklustre cybersecurity controls and algorithm bungle forces Government to refund $721m to welfare recipients. Tracking the week that was in tech and digital innovation across Australia and New Zealand’s government sector.


NSW Police has received a mixed report card from the NSW Audit Office in a recent tech deployment, with a review by the state auditor finding the Force lacked strategic direction in managing a six-year, $100 million ICT upgrade.

The Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) has come under fire from the Government’s Joint Committee on Public Accounts and Audit, with concerns the Protective Security Policy Framework (PSPF) and Essential Eight cybersecurity protocols were being applied piecemeal across Commonwealth entities.

ASIC has revealed it will launch an expanded regulatory sandbox for fintechs in September this year. The enhancements will allow the upstarts to test specified financial services, including financial advice, the issuing of consumer credit contracts, and facilitating crowd-sourced funding, according to Treasury.

The DTA has completed a month-long trial of a new myGov digital identity credential. The new system allows users to authenticate via the tax office’s myGovID app rather than the portal’s existing two-factor system. Nearly 1.3 million myGovID identities have been created to date.

The Federal Government will initiate a $721 million refund to welfare recipients caught up in the robodebt scandal, with the Government acknowledging failures in the algorithm for calculating recipients’ income. The Australian Greens have called for a Royal Commission into the bungle.

Three new cybersecurity innovation nodes will be established across Queensland in a bid to support private sector security and drive industry growth. Hubs will be established in Brisbane, Townsville and the Sunshine Coast, with the Federal and Queensland Governments partnering with cybersec industry booster, AustCyber, alongside local councils to build the new nodes.

The Victorian Government has earmarked $600,000 to support low-emissions technology development within the Latrobe Valley – among the world’s largest sources of lignite or brown coal and, indeed, largest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions in Australia. Australian Carbon Innovation, a not-for-profit emissions reductions tech developer, will be the primary beneficiary of the funding.

The Queensland Government has announced a mobile-friendly upgrade to a disaster management directory, designed to improve access to “life-saving information” for local Townsville area communities. The upgrade was funded through the FNQ & NQ Monsoon Trough Flexible Funding Grant.

The Federal Government has opened a competitive tender process to create a new Regional Digital Technology Hub in an effort to improve tech literacy across regional Australia. Interested suppliers have been urged to apply for the “design, build, and operation” of the Digital Tech Hub. Submissions can be made until Monday, 6 July 2020.

The Universities of South Australia and Wollongong will collaborate with the Department of Defence in an AI and data analytics R&D scheme to advance development of informed decision-making and goal-oriented autonomous systems.

New research commissioned by the Federal Government has revealed a doubling in the number of over 65s accessing telehealth services. Two out of three respondents said they are now open to using telehealth services more frequently post-Covid-19 lockdowns.

South Australian has named a high-profile board to lead its soon-to-be-launched Australian Cyber Collaboration Centre based in Adelaide’s Lot 14 innovation and tech R&D precinct.

The Federal Government had announced a $66 million booster for its Medical Research Future Fund to support the development of a vaccine and treatments for Covid-19, as well as strategies to mitigate future pandemics.

Deloitte has been handed $3.5 million pay rise for its work on a new social media-inspired myGov digital experience platformGovDXP, receiving $23 million in total from the Federal Government for the six-month job.

An ACCC investigation has revealed that the NBN Co, builders and operators of Australia’s National Broadband Network (NBN), misled Canberra consumers by suggesting their existing services would be disconnected if they did not move to the NBN.

The NSW Government has announced the launch of a new national and international defence and aerospace hub as part of its Special Activation Precinct at BAE Systems in Williamtown.