Budget 2018: Government to upgrade key Veterans' Affairs ICT systems

Clay Curtis
May 10, 2018

"This includes supercomputers, world class satellite imagery, more accurate Global Positioning System across Australia, upgrading the Bureau of Meteorology's technology platform, a national space agency and leading research in artificial intelligence", he said in his budget speech.

In an even more token effort, the budget has allocated $4.5 million over four years to encourage more women into science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education. This will be allocated from the 2018-2019 national budget of Australia.

Local government has also sought a doubling of the Roads to Recovery funding in the budget, and the establishment of a Local Freight Productivity Investment Plan, funded at $200 million per year for five years, and for the Bridges Renewal Program to be made permanent.

In its Federal Budget announced yesterday, the government confirmed it will provide $44.6 million over the next four years to establish a National Consumer Data Right (CDR), a construct aimed at allowing Australians to take control of their personal data and share it with the service providers of their choice.

Meanwhile, as ABC reports, the broadcaster's annual funding indexation will be frozen for three years starting in July next year. These include administering a new civil penalty regime to combat the non-consensual sharing of intimate images, and providing guidance and support to Australians of all ages who experience online abuse.

Another smaller item in the digital budget is a project to upgrade business registers, which is also linked to a suite of measures responding to the work of Treasury's Black Economy Taskforce.

This forms part of a focus that also includes working with business and community peak bodies to develop strategies that promote the benefits of a diverse workforce, influence hiring practices and reduce discrimination.

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"A National Data Commissioner will implement and oversee a simpler, safer, and more efficient government data use framework". This limit is less than the $2 million limit flagged in the 2016 review of the scheme.

This will include funding for to replace the Galaxy and Magnus supercomputers and supporting infrastructure, which are now used to support researchers around the country.

The Department of Veterans' Affairs will receive an additional $111.9 million over four years beginning in 2018-19 "to continue to transform and improve veterans' services to more effectively and efficiently meet the current and future needs of veterans and their dependants", budget papers reveal.

According to the budget papers, ten agencies will also spend about $20.5m from their existing allocations for implementation of the new data governance arrangements over the forward estimates, and Cormann also provided an update on the Data Integration Partnership for Australia. This funding includes a trial of approximately 100,000 tax file number (TFN) applications being completed online. Investments will be guided by the National Research Infrastructure Roadmap, developed by Australia's Chief Scientist, and will require co-investment by industry and other institutions.

The 2018-2019 budget document by the Australian government mentions that, "the Government will provide 0.7 million AUD in 2018-2019 for the Digital Transformation Agency to investigate areas where blockchain technology could offer the most value for Government services".

Continued funding to engage Australians in STEM through the Inspiring Australia program.

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