Western Australia embraces digital innovation


Western Australian government moves to curb $1 to $2 billion annual ICT spend through the uptake of digital services.  A just-released ICT strategy clarifies policies on digital services, cloud, disaster recovery, digital security, and interoperability. Minister for Innovation, Bill Marmion, sets the pace of reforms.

Bill Marmion, the Western Australian Minister for Innovation, has released a comprehensive whole-of-government ICT strategy that incorporates a wider uptake of digital services using mobile and online channels. By 2020, the administration plans to migrate 75 per cent of its services into the digital space. This builds on the mantra of anywhere, anytime services, and tackles the cost of delivering government services.

This move follows on from a public inquiry that canvassed ICT procurement reforms by the Public Accounts Committee. This committee had delivered a report to Parliament, raising red flags around ICT spend and procurement.

WA’s digital and ICT strategy resets the dial on digital services, together with a consolidation and rationalisation of ICT projects across departments and agencies. This strategy is supported by policies on cloud, disaster recovery, digital security, interoperability and digital services.

A Digital WA agenda will curb growth involving the administration’s current $1 to $2 billion annual ICT spend, according to Marmion.  “The Digital WA strategy will accelerate the pace of digital transformation across the public sector, which will ultimately benefit all West Australians in accessing and using government services.”

Four-year action plan

A four-year action plan leverages advances in digital platforms and mobile apps. The goal is lower the cost of service delivery, while offering a single gateway to access services. This policy offers a “practical vision” enabling citizens to gain easy, high-quality, and anywhere, anytime services. “From simply paying bills online to obtaining the latest information and data on everything government that matters to you, that is the Digital WA promise once fully implemented,” noted Marmion.

Digital WA will also help entrepreneurs and start-up companies flourish, as they use government open data sources to produce new products and services. “Our ICT bywords are innovation, collaboration and transformation,” Marmion said. “The work has already started to ensure the success of the strategy.”

In November last year, WA launched the GovNext-ICT initiative that sought to improve how agencies pay for, and use, technology across the public sector. GovNext-ICT has enabled agencies to migrate to the cloud, while reducing the cost of running and maintaining systems. This platform also connects agencies into a single government-wide network.

“The targets and key performance indicators (KPIs) in the strategy are ambitious,” added Marmion. “These reflect a commitment to delivering enhanced digital services to West Australians. One of these KPIs is to have 75 per cent of all government-related transactions completed online by the public by 2020.”

The Office of the Government Chief Information Officer under the auspices of the GCIO, Giles Nunis, is fast-tracking collaboration across more than 100 agencies. This collaboration marks a shift to common platforms, and the broader uptake of cloud services. Agencies are encouraged to stay agile and responsive to community needs.

Fact File

  • The Digital WA strategy is for the period 2016-20. It was developed in consultation with the public sector and the ICT industry.
  • Digital WA offers clearer direction to agencies in their planning, investment and use of ICT. This underscores the delivery of projects on time and to budget.
  • The Office of the Government Chief Information Officer was established on July 1, 2015. The office was required to deliver a whole-of-government ICT Strategy by July 2016