Senate Estimates opening statement — October 2018

22 October 2018

This opening statement was tabled by our Chief Executive Officer Randall Brugeaud at Senate Estimates on 23 October 2018.

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

I’ve been DTA CEO for almost four months now. While it’s clearly challenging, I’m thoroughly enjoying the role and am passionate about the work we do.

The DTA continues to focus on improving the way Australians access government services; to make them simple, clear and fast.

The DTA delivers a broad range of services, but we are progressively increasing our focus on delivery. Our four strategic priorities for 2018–19 are: 

  • to deliver a whole-of-government Digital Transformation Strategy and Roadmap
  • to deliver a digital capability improvement program, including procurement reform
  • to deliver whole-of-government digital platforms, including digital identity 
  • to deliver investment advice, and whole-of-government portfolio oversight on ICT and digital investments

I’ll provide a brief update on our progress against each of these priorities. 

Technology is fundamentally changing the way we live and work. Australians rightly expect us to respond to these changes.

While Australia can be proud of being consistently ranked as a digital leader in a global context, there are a number of areas where improvement is required. We are learning from countries like Estonia and Denmark, where digital government services are ubiquitous.

By the end of this year, government will release a strategy to deliver world-leading digital services for all Australians. Our Digital Transformation Strategy and Roadmap look forward to 2025.

Our strategy describes our vision for digital transformation in government. It has been developed in close collaboration with our colleagues across government as well as our industry partners. It has also included public consultation which has helped to shape the strategy and roadmap and inform our implementation planning.

Our second priority is a digital capability improvement program, including procurement reform.

To enable and accelerate our digital transformation agenda, we are working hard to improve digital capability. This presents a range of challenges, most of which are not unique to government. Our strategic response is a three-part strategy; to build, to borrow and to buy capability.

We are building digital capability by providing guidance, tools, training and mentoring. We also coordinate digital entry level programs.

We are borrowing digital capability from APS agencies, academia and the private sector. We have some incredibly talented people here in Australia, but we need to do better when it comes to sharing them.
We are also buying capability, but we need to drive improvements in the sourcing of digital products and services to achieve better value, increase flexibility and competition and improve access. We are making it simpler for industry to sell relevant capabilities to government and for governments to buy relevant capabilities from industry.
Our Digital Marketplace recently hit the 1,000 opportunity milestone. Almost $279 million worth of contracts have been awarded, with three quarters of these going to small and medium enterprises, or SMEs. We are also working with the big end of town, negotiating whole-of-government deals with companies such as SAP, Microsoft and most recently, IBM.

Our third priority is the delivery of whole-of-government digital platforms.

Platforms will make it faster and simpler to deliver digital services. They will improve efficiency, reduce costs and most importantly, improve the end-user experience. The DTA is leading the delivery of platforms such as Digital Identity, Notifications and Tell us Once and delivering improvements to myGov.

Digital Identity will be critical. It will provide a simple, secure capability for people to access government and potentially non-government services online. It will be opt-in. The use of digital identity will be governed by the Trusted Digital Identity Framework. We have been, and will continue to engage with security, identity and privacy experts to ensure that digital identity is a safe, secure and reliable way of accessing government services.

We will begin rolling out digital identity pilots over the coming weeks. These pilots will allow us to test, iterate and improve systems before they are released. The first pilot will allow people to acquire a government-issued digital identity and a Tax File Number entirely online. This will reduce a month-long, partly analogue process to a less than 30 minute, fully digital process.

Our final priority is the delivery of ICT and digital investment advice and portfolio oversight.

The DTA collects information on government initiatives with an ICT or digital spend over $10 million. We do this bi-monthly, monitoring progress and providing government with a comprehensive view of its ICT and digital investments. The DTA is currently monitoring 63 projects and works with owning agencies, to offer advice and support where it provides the greatest value. Agencies remain accountable for their own initiatives however.

While I acknowledge that there have been a number of well-publicised ICT project failures over the last few years, the DTA has helped and will continue to help agencies with their ICT and digital programs. While working with the ABS, I was a grateful recipient of support from the DTA for the highly successful Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey. More recently, the DTA has provided support to the ABS for the Census 2021 program, the Bureau of Meteorology for their Robust Program and Department of Jobs and Small Business for their Employment 2020 Project to name just a few. 

Senators, I thank you for the opportunity to walk you through our current priorities and share some of the elements of our digital transformation agenda. We have a lot of work to do, but I’m optimistic about what lies ahead.

We look forward to taking your questions.

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