2017-2018 Federal Government Budget signals focus on data collaboration and utilisation

Federal Government's new Modernisation Fund aims to bring together data from across agencies into single view not only internally, but for citizens

Corporates aren’t the only ones to be looking to achieve a single customer view, it seems: So is the Federal Government.

Hooking up data across agencies into a single data view and ensuring citizens only have to tell agencies key information once are among the ambitions of the Federal Government’s new Modernisation Fund, announced as part of the latest Budget 2017-2018 and aimed at improving the way the government tackles society problems and citizen interactions in future.

Detailed as part of the latest Federal Budget 2017-2018, the Government plans to invest $500 million into a Modernisation Fund, aimed at delivering quality government services at lower costs through the use of technology and stronger collaboration across agencies. The fund will see agencies better tapping into and collaborating around government data as well as leveraging digital in order to improve access to services.

The funding incorporates $161.5m for improving policy, programs and service delivery through better use of government data, as well as $64.6m to help streamline as well as improve access to government services.

Specifically, the government is looking to integrate public data from across government through the Data Integration Partnership of Australia. The ambition is to provide access via a single entry point in order to reduce duplication, encourage efficiency and transform the way data is collected and used in the long-term.

In addition, the Digital Transformation Agency is being asked with reducing duplication between agencies and improving the user experience when it comes to accessing government services online through a new Federated Data Exchange platform. A key new service planned off the back of this is a ‘Tell us Once’ system, reducing the need for consumers to report similar information to multiple agencies. Users will also be able to choose how they receive notifications from agencies.

“The DTA will also develop a Federated Data Exchange platform that removes the need to build and maintain bespoke point‑to‑point data exchanges between agencies, while still complying with privacy and security requirements,” the budget preface read.

To further ensure data is used correctly, funding will also be provided to the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) to expand the role of Data61, Australia’s digital research network. This investment is for building a data integration platform that supports law enforcement and regulatory agencies to better detect, prevent and disrupt illicit activities within Australia and overseas.

On top of this, Geoscience Australia will deliver a platform that provides insights from satellite data into the changing Australian landscape and coastline.

“Through enhanced data analytics, the Government will be able to design better‑targeted and more effective services in education, social services, health and aged care,” the budget stated.

The Government said it’s investing $350m over three years into a range of projects that will help modernise, transform and enhance the productivity of the Australian Public Service (APS), all with the aim of developing evidence-based policy and people-centred policy design.

“This Budget contains a number of initiatives that lay the foundation for improving public sector productivity,” the budget preface read. “These initiatives will support the continued delivery of high quality, value for money policies, programs and services for the benefit of citizens and business, in a more sustainable way.”

Also listed in the 2017-2018 Budget is $22.7 million for improving digital citizen identity framework, GovPass, used by consumers to access online and mobile app-based services. In the future, this is expected to expand to be used by businesses, the budget paper stated.

The work will see GovPass link to existing document and facial verification services to establish identity.

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