Australia’s government IT projects face scrutiny in new review

By on 17/02/2017 | Updated on 04/02/2022
Angus Taylor, assistant minister for digital transformation

Australia’s Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) is to undertake a review of the government’s biggest technology projects.

A newly-created Digital Investment Management Office within the DTA has been handed the brief to carry out the review, which is part of an effort by the Commonwealth government to get a handle on its AU$6.2bn (UK£3.8bn or US$4.8bn) annual ICT spend.

The DTA said the aim of the review is to gain a comprehensive picture of the costs, benefits, risks and status of all projects worth over AU$10m (£6.2m or $7.7m) or affecting a “large number of Australians”.

“We need to make sure we’re delivering what the public needs, we’re avoiding duplication and we have the right processes in place to minimise disruption to public services,” said assistant minister for digital transformation Angus Taylor.

Few further details of the review were given, but Taylor said its aim is to ensure investment is reaching the “right” technology projects and to keep track of the extent to which those projects deliver the promised policy benefits.

“This is more than a review, it’s ongoing oversight, and it will provide unprecedented visibility and centralised management of IT projects,” Taylor said.

A report on the findings of the review is expected to be complete by mid 2017.

The review is the first major initiative to come out of the DTA since it was launched in October last year as the replacement to the Digital Transformation Office (DTO) formed in 2015. The aim of the new agency is to provide greater centralised control of Australia’s e-government agenda.

The head of the DTO, Paul Shetler, was not chosen to lead the new agency and was instead given a newly-created post of chief digital officer. Shetler resigned less than two months later amid suggestions that he had faced excessive institutional resistance to the changes he was seeking to make across government.

As well as the initial review, the DTA said the new Digital Investment Management Office will provide continued strategic oversight of the Australian government’s digital investment portfolio.

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See also:

Surprise resignation of Australia’s digital chief, Paul Shetler

New digital agency to lead Australian e-government push

Paul Shetler, chief executive, Digital Transformation Office, government of Australia: Exclusive interview

Australian government launches new digital marketplace

UK government releases digital transformation strategy


About Ben Willis

Ben Willis is a journalist and editor with a varied background reporting on topics including public policy, the environment, renewable energy and international development. His work has appeared in a variety of national newspapers including the Guardian, Daily Telegraph and Times, as well as numerous specialist business, policy and consumer publications.

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