The AI in Government Taskforce: examining use and governance of AI by the APS

On Tuesday, Minister for Industry and Science, the Hon Ed Husic and Minister for Finance, Senator Katy Gallagher announced the Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Government Taskforce.

Jointly led by the Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) and the Department of Industry, Science and Resources (DISR), the Taskforce has representatives from agencies across the APS and is focused on the safe and responsible use of AI by the Australian Public Service (APS).

What is this taskforce working on?

The AI in Government Taskforce is composed of 18 secondees from 11 APS agencies who are working on whole-of-government AI application, policies, standards and guidance.

This work will help the APS to engage with and deploy AI in a way that is safe, ethical and responsible. The Taskforce is consulting widely across the APS and will develop approaches to governance, risk management, skills and capability, technical use and preparedness at a whole-of-government level.

It will operate for up to 6 months, delivering a program of work over the immediate, medium- and long-term. This will include an update to the Interim guidance on government use of publicly available generative AI platforms, initially published by the DTA and DISR in July.

Why was the taskforce created?

AI technologies aren’t new. Machine learning, for example, has already transformed medical imaging down to our phones’ predictive text.

In the last couple of years, however, emerging AI technology has evolved faster than many of us could have predicted. Generative AI has quickly made its way into everyday tools, software and use-cases – and it’s only just beginning.

The AI in Government Taskforce is consulting a wide range of perspectives from across the APS to inform a cohesive, whole-of-government approach. This will help the APS to harness the opportunities of AI technology while effectively managing its risks, both present and future.

The Chief Executive Officer for the DTA, Chris Fechner, says that government has an important role to play in setting an example for the safe and ethical use of AI technologies.

"We don’t want to be left behind but we do want to protect government systems and ensure we’re ultimately benefiting the wider Australian community.”

The work of AI in Government Taskforce cuts across all aspects of the APS and builds upon the government’s existing initiatives, including DISR’s Safe and Responsible AI in Australia discussion paper.

To find out more or to join the APS Community of Practice that has been established to inform the work of the AI in Government Taskforce, please email