Senate Estimates opening statement – February 2019

19 February 2019

This opening statement was tabled by our Chief Executive Officer Randall Brugeaud at Senate Estimates on 18 February 2019.

Thank you Chair. I would like to offer a brief opening statement.

Since our last appearance, the DTA has continued to progress Australia’s digital transformation agenda. We have settled into our new operating model and are working with our colleagues and partners to deliver against the priorities I outlined to you in October.

Australia has long been recognised as a world-leader in digital government, but an incredibly dynamic operating environment means that we cannot afford to stand still. We live in a time where countries and economies are in a race to harness the benefits of digital in the development of government policies, the implementation of programs and in service delivery.

The opportunity to improve government services through digital transformation remains high, but generating the impact required to drive us forward into the next decade requires a bold vision, clear strategies and the sustained support of government.

In November of last year, we launched the whole-of-government Digital Transformation Strategy. This describes a vision that puts people and businesses at the centre of everything we do. It is supported by a rolling 2-year Roadmap to guide implementation. At its core are 3 key priorities:

  1. Government that is easy to deal with – which is focused on services
  2. Government that is informed by you – which is focused on data
  3. Government that is fit for the digital age – which is focused on capability

In November we also released our whole-of-government Platforms Strategy. This provides guidance for departments who create or manage digital service platforms. It outlines how we will achieve the benefits of reusable platforms such as Notifications and Payments.

Our work on Digital Identity is progressing well. Digital Identity will offer a better experience for people and businesses as they access government services. It will also deliver economic benefits and encourage collaboration and innovation. We will have 8 pilots running before the end of this financial year, with high-volume government services such as TFN applications, Grant Management, Youth Allowance and the Australian Business Register all being able to be accessed using myGovID, the government-issued digital identity.

Digital Identity, along with our Trusted Digital Identity Framework have been developed in close consultation with security, identity and privacy experts. This ensures that we continue to offer a reliable, safe and secure way for people to access government services online. They have also been developed in a collaborative way, with the DTA building productive working relationships with our colleagues in government and our partners in academia and industry.

Across government, the Australian Digital Council is proving to be an important enabler of interjurisdictional collaboration. We have established Multi-Disciplinary Teams, or MDTs to deal with the complexities associated with services that span Commonwealth, State and Territory lines. We have focused MDTs on life events, such as having a baby and getting a job. We’ve also got teams working on digital identity and data integration initiatives. Our core objective is to improve services for people and businesses all around the country.

Building digital capability is a critical part of the DTA’s mission. We have continued to provide training, coaching, mentoring and support across government. This includes work with the Australian Public Service Commission to define career pathways for digital professionals. We have also just welcomed 121 new digital apprentices, cadets and graduates. These new recruits were engaged through our Emerging Talent Program to work in range of digital roles across 19 Commonwealth agencies.

While we have many incredible people working in the APS, we also need to leverage the capabilities of industry. To this end, we have continued to grow our Digital Marketplace, with over $348 million worth of contracts awarded to the end of January 2019. 72 percent of these contracts went to small and medium-sized enterprises, or SMEs. We are also continuing to negotiate large whole-of-government deals to increase value and flexibility and drive down costs.

I mentioned innovation in the context of digital identity in my earlier comments. Innovation is crucial to our ongoing success as a nation. Our recent blockchain research and advice is an example of how we’re monitoring our external environment for capabilities that may be applied to the delivery of government services. This work is underpinned by platforms such as that support innovation by allowing organisations to rapidly test hypotheses as they drive new thinking.

Finally, we continue to work hard to provide strategic advice through our Digital Investment Division. We work closely with our counterparts in the Department of Finance to develop quality digital proposals. We provide advice to ensure that proposals align with whole-of-government strategies, including the Digital Transformation Strategy. We also continue to provide targeted advice to government digital programs to reduce risk and increase delivery confidence.

Senators, I thank you for the opportunity to share this update. While we still have a lot of work to do, I’m incredibly proud of the achievements of Team DTA in leading and supporting Australia’s digital transformation agenda.

We look forward to taking your questions.

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