Our strategic context

Significant investment in digital initiatives have already seen the development of easy-to-use digital services that facilitate better policy decisions, and faster, cheaper delivery.

However, opportunities exist to better collaborate and leverage investments and capabilities across government.

A whole-of-government (WofG) approach to digital platforms is needed to sustain Australia’s reputation as one of the most advanced digital governments globally and continue to deliver benefits to the Australian people and businesses.

Why we need digital platforms

Developing reusable digital platforms of common business services will help reduce the burden on people and businesses, deliver greater benefits to the economy, and speed up digital transformation across government, enabling us to deliver the vision of the Digital Transformation Strategy

Digital platforms will help shift the delivery of government services to faster and better digital channels that are easily accessible, making government more responsive, convenient and user-focused. Improving digital services also helps boost the effectiveness and efficiency of service delivery and facilitate improved integrity and policy outcomes across government services. A WofG approach to identifying, building and operating digital platforms is the solution to a range of current challenges in government.

Constantly re-inventing the wheel resulting in duplicated expenditure

Over a long period of time we have invented, developed and gathered a large collection of processes, systems and information that are used in the day-to-day delivery of services. This collection of assets is not easily shared between Commonwealth agencies or with state and territory agencies, forcing new processes to be invented, new systems to be built, and the same information to be gathered multiple times from the community.  This also leads to increased costs, duplicated effort in government and inconvenience to the user.

Current processes encourage ‘bespoke’ builds designed to meet the needs of a single agency

The opportunity to reuse a public service asset is often impeded by that asset having been developed or gathered for a single purpose. This asset often only reflects the point-in-time need of the initiating agency, and often cannot be easily reused by other organisations or even the same agency for a different purpose.

Fragmented user experience

Agency specific approaches to delivering government services often lead to a fragmented user experience when using more than one government department or agency. Users are also required to provide the same information multiple times, such as when updating their address. This makes sharing information and data between agencies far more time consuming than it needs to be.

Benefits of digital platforms

The key benefits that we could achieve by developing whole-of-government digital platforms include:

  • making it easier for people and businesses to deal with government by providing easily accessible, secure, reliable and tailored services, through multiple efficient channels
  • improving integrity of the government ecosystem and services offered by the government by linking different parts of government
  • increasing agility and responsiveness of government by having highly interoperable and flexible platforms that are easy to adapt to changing needs, policies or legislation
  • improving effectiveness and efficiency of government policy and service delivery by supporting both digital and non-digital channels and interactions
  • reducing costs and increasing speed of delivery by enabling reuse of resources and redirecting government resources towards improving service delivery outcomes
  • enabling innovation and use of technology to deliver digital services that are simple, clear and fast.

Strategic alignment and dependencies

The Strategy was developed with consideration of other key initiatives and strategies, some of which are outlined below. The Strategy will be reviewed and updated as needed to maintain alignment with relevant government initiatives and policies as they arise.

The Digital Transformation Strategy

The Digital Transformation Strategy sets the Australian Government’s 2025 vision to be a world leading digital government for the benefit of all Australians. This vision will help to make it easy to deal with Government, provide excellent services through smarter use of data and the use of contemporary digital capabilities.

The Secure Cloud Strategy

The Secure Cloud Strategy was developed to guide agencies beyond current business restrictions and move towards a more agile method of service improvement. It is a framework for sustainable change within the Commonwealth so that all agencies can make use of what cloud has to offer. This strategy provides guidelines and principles for agencies preparing or undergoing the transition to cloud.

Hosting strategy

The Hosting Strategy provides a WofG approach for hosting services used by the Commonwealth Government. This strategy provides guidance for different hosting service models, including agency hosted, managed service provision, and cloud-based software-as-a-service.

Cyber Security Strategy

The Cyber Security Strategy establishes five themes of action for Australia’s cyber security to be achieved by 2020:

  • a national cyber partnership
  • strong cyber defences
  • global responsibility and influence
  • growth and innovation
  • a cyber smart nation

Information Security Manual

The Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) produces the Australian Government Information Security Manual (ISM). The manual is the standard which governs the security of government ICT systems.

ICT Procurement Reform

The Digital Transformation Agency is making it simpler, easier and faster for Government departments and agencies to buy Information and Communication Technology (ICT). The reform involves the setup of new procurement arrangements or updating of existing arrangements.

Building Digital Capability Program

The DTA is working with the Australian Public Service Commission (APSC) to establish the Digital Capabilities program. The program aims to:

  • attract digital talent to the Australian Public Service
  • create clear career pathways
  • help managers create digital teams
  • inspire leaders to take a visionary approach to creating digital services

Supporting whole-of-government Initiatives

The Department of Finance and the DTA will continue to explore different funding and internal charging arrangements to support WofG initiatives.

Data sharing and release legislation 

The Government is developing new Data Sharing and Release legislation to better realise the value of public sector data and modernise the Australian Government data system. The goal of  the new legislation is to streamline the process for sharing public sector data and improve data safeguards across the public service.

The whole-of-government digital platforms ecosystem

Digital platforms exist in the wider context of the government ecosystem and will be highly interoperable with departments and agencies’ business and technology environments. By creating an ecosystem that strikes a balance between government and market-driven innovation, we will ensure value is delivered to people and businesses.

Diagram to illustrate the relationships between platforms ecosystem and stakeholders. In the centre: whole-of-government digital service platforms ecosystem. The next layer out with the heading 'end-users' is business and people. The next layer out with the heading 'Government' is Commonwealth Government,  state and territory governments and local governments. The next layer out with the heading 'Market' is academia, industry, service providers and intermediaries. The outer layer innovation and interoperability.

Figure 4 Whole-of-government digital platforms ecosystem



End-users are people and businesses, who may consume services directly from digital platforms, or indirectly via other channels (such as via agencies).


Government includes Commonwealth Government departments and agencies, state, territory and local governments.

The market

This broadly refers to non-government entities, such as academia, not-for-profit organisations, intermediaries (such as health providers, tax agents), service providers (such as technology companies) and industry (such as banks, commercial entities).

Interoperability and innovation unlock value in the ecosystem

Interoperability is not only technology related, but refers to the overall ability for seamless and frictionless collaboration and interaction between people, businesses, the market and government. Innovation should be driven by government and the market, each playing a critical role.

Public trust and confidence underpin the entire ecosystem

Building and maintaining public trust and confidence in our ability to deliver reliable and accessible services as well as protect and manage sensitive data will be critical to the success of WofG digital platforms.

Continuous feedback from consumers supports the value chain

Digital platforms are designed to deliver value to consumers. Adopting a human-centred approach ensures that digital platforms are embedded in a continuous feedback loop.