news Technology media outlet Delimiter has filed a Freedom of Information request seeking to retrieve the unreleased comprehensive ICT Audit which the Federal Government presented to Finance Minister Mathias Cormann in January this year.
The audit was part of the Coalition’s E-Government and the Digital Economy policy platform which it took to the September 2013 Federal Election (see the full PDF of that policy here).
At the time, the Coalition had promised that if it won power, it would request that the Department of Finance and the Australian Government Information Management Office undertake an audit across all agencies of spending, capital expenditure and outcomes generated by investment in ICT over the preceding three years.
Finance Minister Mathias Cormann told the Australian in November 2013 that the audit had commenced.
Following this date, a number of questions have been asked about the ICT Audit in Parliamentary committee hearings.
For example, during hearings of the Senate Finance and Public Administration Legislation Committee early this year, Labor Senator Joe Ludwig asked in the Senate Estimates process whether the report had been completed and submitted to government. The Senator also asked for a copy of the report’s findings.
In April, the Department of Finance responded to Ludwig’s question by stating: “The Audit of Australian Government ICT was completed in December 2014. The Audit report was provided to the Minister for Finance in January 2015.”
However, the Department wrote at the time, Minister for Finance Mathias Cormann was currently considering the report and “it would not be appropriate to release it at this time”.
Today, Delimiter wrote to the Department of Finance seeking the release of the report under Freedom of Information laws.
Delimiter believes there is a strong public interest argument to be made that the Department should release the report. It will contain key findings which will guide the future development of critical ICT infrastructure within Australia’s Federal Government departments and agencies. Furthermore, the Australian public has an inherent right to a solid understanding of how the Government is spending its money on technology infrastructure.
In addition, Cormann has had more than enough time to consider the report. It was completed 12 months ago and should be released into the public domain.
Delimiter notes that there is substantial precedent for the release of the report. For example, the last major review of Federal Government use of ICT, conducted by Sir Peter Gershon, was published in full in October 2008, several months after Gershon presented then-Finance Minister Lindsay Tanner with the report.
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