Federal Government spends $5bn on ICT annually

news Special Minister of State Gary Gray has released a report summarising expenditure by government departments in 2008–09 and 2009–10, which states that the Australian Government is a major consumer and producer of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) products and solutions, with an annual expenditure of $5 billion.

Gray said that the report, produced by the Government and available online, provides a very useful insight into the Government ICT market. The total Australian ICT market is estimated to be worth almost $100 billion. “The Government’s investment in ICT is improving the way it delivers services to the community and industry,” Gray said.

The report states that:

  • The Australian Government is a major consumer and producer of ICT services, with annual expenditure of about $5 billion per year;
  • Although ICT expenditure has increased marginally between the two years after correcting for the effects of inflation, it decreased as a proportion of departmental operating costs;
  • ICT made up around 5 per cent of agencies’ total operating costs in 2009–10;
  • The Australian Government is investing in improving and extending its ICT capability, with 30 per cent of its expenditure on new projects in 2009–10.

Gray said that the Government’s investment in the largest ever infrastructure project undertaken in Australia, the National Broadband Network (NBN), would improve services in the education and health sectors, while also offering potential for businesses to improve their productivity.

ICT is enabling some major service improvement projects, including the Service Delivery Reform project (Department of Human Services) which is transforming government service delivery by providing more one-stop shops in the area of social welfar, more self-service options and more intensive support for those who need it; and the Passport Redevelopment Program (Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade) which is a new passport issuing system to enable the Department to realise better client service. The program includes improvements to the online passport application process.

“While this type of data has not been released previously, the release is consistent with the Government’s ongoing commitment to providing better access to government-held information,” Gray said.

The data for the report has been sourced from agencies subject to the Financial Management and Accountability Act (FMA) 1997, through an annual benchmarking data collection exercise conducted by the Department of Finance and Deregulation. The ICT benchmarking program aims to assess the efficiency and effectiveness of ICT services in the delivery of Government programs, and to inform other whole-of-government ICT policy initiatives. Data for the 2010–11 financial year is currently under analysis, with a report including this data expected to be released within the next couple of months.

Image credit: Phil Ragen, royalty free