Australian government to launch digital transformation strategy

By on 08/11/2018
Michael Keenan, pictured second from right at the Australian Digital Council, wants Australia to become a world leader in digital government by 20205. Pic by Australian government

The Australian government is to launch a new digital transformation strategy at the beginning of 2019, setting out a roadmap designed to make the country a world leader in digital government by 2025.

Speaking at the Gartner Symposium on the Gold Coast last week, Minister for Human Services and Digital Transformation Michael Keenan said the strategy will include milestones and timescales to keep the country on track to realising its digital ambitions.

”I’m going to make sure that this strategy, once released, delivers tangible results to the Australian people and we’re going to do that by keeping ourselves accountable to it”, he said, ZDNet reported.

Passport to the future

The minister spoke about the successful rollout of ePassport SmartGates across Australian airports – a project that was widely criticised when first proposed more than a decade ago. “It’s a great example, I think, of how important it is to keep your nerve when you roll out new technology. And we continue to make arguments about why we’re doing it and what we hope to achieve from it,” he said.

The plans will focus on three key areas: making it easier for citizens to interact with government; using data and analytics to inform smarter decision-making; and the adoption of new and emerging technologies in government.

“The strategy will continually be renewed and refreshed to make sure we account for new technology developments and the emergence of new trends,” he said at the event.

Blockchain blocked?

It’s not clear which “new and emerging technologies” the strategy will focus on, but blockchain’s champions had a setback last month when a research project into its potential use in government concluded that better technology currently exists to realise all the objectives tested.

The Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) spent Aus$700,000 (US$510,000) working with a number of government departments over the past six months to investigate if blockchain technology could be beneficial to them.

At a senate hearing on October 23, DTA Chief Officer Peter Alexander reported back on the initial findings:  “Our position today, and this is an early write-up, is that blockchain is an interesting technology that would be well worth being observed,” he said, according to Innovationaus. “But without standardisation and a lot more work, for every use of blockchain that you would consider today there is a better technology.”

About Natalie Leal

Natalie is a freelance journalist whose work has been published by The Sun Online, The Guardian, Novara Media, Positive News, and Welfare Weekly, among others. She also writes reports and case studies on global business trends for behavioural insights agency, Canvas8. Prior to working as a journalist Natalie worked for the public sector in social services for several years. She switched careers in 2013 after winning a fully funded NCTJ in a national writing competition. She holds a Masters degree in social anthropology from Sussex University where she specialised in processes of social change and international conflict and reconciliation processes.

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