Australia launches Digital Transformation Strategy

By on 02/12/2018
Michael Keenan, Australia’s minister for human services and digital transformation, launched the new strategy late last month.

Australia has published a Digital Transformation Strategy, setting out its objective of allowing citizens to access all government services digitally by 2025. The goal, it says, is to ensure that government is “easy to deal with”; “informed by” citizens; and “fit for the digital age”.

The strategy makes clear that it is dependent on the successful completion of the federal government’s project to create a digital identity system for users, work on which is already under way. With that in place, Australians using their digital ID will be able to opt-in to receive personalised services, alerting them to their eligibility for different services and providing reminders of when payments are due.

“One of the biggest barriers to convenient, end-to-end digital government services is having to repeatedly prove your identity online,” the document says. “As a result, you may have up to 30 different logins for different government services.  We are developing a digital identity system which will make proving who you are convenient, easy and secure.

“If you ask us to, we will merge the logins that you currently have. This will enable you to use a single digital identity for your services.”

Easier interactions

Earlier this year the Australian Government announced that a pilot of the system, myGovID, would begin in March 2019, covering services including grants management, business registration, student services, and some Centrelink services.

The new strategy – released late last month – also proposes the development of platforms to simplify engagement between citizens and government at a national and local level. A similar approach will be extended to businesses, in a move the strategy claims will “simplify the complex web of rules, regulations and reporting across multiple agencies and layers of government”.

Better use of data

The government will continue work to allow better sharing of data between departments and agencies, according to the strategy.

In May, the government appointed a National Data Commissioner to work on legislation to encourage better use of data within government. And the strategy attempts to deal with fears over the misuse of citizen data, promising to put in place “strong safeguards” and to adopt a transparent approach.

The document also outlines a number of “signature initiatives”, including enabling new-born children to be automatically enrolled in Medicare; allowing welfare claims to be made online; and introducing virtual assistants for different services.

A roadmap has been published alongside the strategy, including key milestones and projects up to 2020. This will be updated each year, alongside annual action plans to meet the aims of the strategy.

Big ambitions

Launching the strategy, Michael Keenan, minister for human services and digital transformation, said: “Australians expect the same experience interacting with government as they have with innovative, leading private sector organisations. They expect us to meet the highest standards of service delivery, customer experience, simplicity, flexibility and ease of use.”

The document has been in development some time, with Keenan trailing its publication early in November.

However, it is not the Australians’ first attempt at setting out its digital ambitions. In 2013, an Australian coalition government policy document on e-government and the digital economy set out the aim of getting all of its major services and interactions with citizens online by 2017

About Colin Marrs

Colin Marrs is a journalist specialising in local and national government, as well as architecture and the built environment. Colin previously worked as digital content editor at Campaign, the advertising industry "bible".

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