A new division to drive digital transformation

Phil Thurbon is a First Assistant Secretary for the Department of Immigration and Border Protection and is helping reinforce the Department’s commitment to design better and more meaningful experiences for individuals and businesses.

Two people talking in front of a wall covered in post-it-notes.
Caption: DIBP and DTO are working jointly on two digital transformation projects

Over the next four years, the volume of people and goods crossing our border is projected to increase significantly. According to our Blueprint for Integration, it’s projected that air cargo will rise 54 percent, citizenship applications will jump by 23 percent and the number of student visas will go up by almost 17 percent. People travelling by air and sea is also expected to rise. Digital transformation will play a crucial role in helping us manage this growth.

Digital solutions will enable us to make our processes faster, simpler and easier to use for businesses, travellers and traders. People want simpler services, and they want to be able to access those anywhere, anytime and on any device. That’s why we were excited to announce a new division dedicated to accelerating the pace of digital transformation across our Department.

The Department’s newly established Digital Transformation and Channels Division or DTCD, reinforces our commitment to design better and more meaningful experiences for the individuals and businesses who interact with us. We’ll be looking to new ways to drive digital thinking, ensuring our digital projects are user focused and in line with the Australian Government’s Digital Service Standard.

Of course we know that digital transformation is not a one-off endeavour for any Department. This effort must be embedded in our day-to-day business.

We’re excited about the opportunities that lie ahead working closely with the Digital Transformation Office (DTO), through participation with them in the Government’s Digital Transformation Programme. We’re working on not just one, but two projects together, involving how to make it easier to book citizenship appointments; and simplifying imports into Australia.

And we’re making great progress. Our Citizenship Appointments Service project has just gone through an assessment of the Digital Service Standard is now in the Beta phase. This project is a first step towards delivering a new way for people to book and reschedule their own appointments at a time that is convenient to them without contacting the Department’s Service Centre.

Our Simplifying Imports project has just completed the problem identification (Discovery) phase and is now in Alpha. A number of user experience workshops and in-depth interviews with industry stakeholders have helped to identify user concerns and issues when importing goods. We’ve learnt that presenting paper permits multiple times is a key frustration. We’re now working with industry partners to define and implement a new service for businesses while maintaining the requirements and information needed to clear goods. This process is expected to make industry dealings with the Department easier through reduced effort and in some instances, shorter timeframes for verifying import approvals.

We’re excited that this is just the beginning! We are focused on building our digital capabilities to enable a new digital culture and mindset. We believe there’s always room for improvement and as such, we are committed to finding better ways of delivering our services.