Victorian Govt outlines new IT strategy


news The Victorian Government has launched a new four-year strategy aimed to harness new digital technologies to “deliver modern services for the community”.

Special Minister of State Gavin Jennings (pictured) announced the new Information Technology Strategy 2016-2020 at an Australian Information Industry Association event yesterday, 12 May. The document can be downloaded here in PDF format.

Currently hosting hundreds of phone hotlines and 538 different websites, accessing Victorian Government services and information can be difficult, the government acknowledged in a statement, and comes at “great expense to taxpayers”.

Few transactional services are accessible online, it said, and total costs are expected to reach $713 million by 2026.

Aimed to “kickstart” the process of digitising government services, the new strategy will improve state residents’ access to everyday services, as well as bringing new tools to frontline workers tackling serious issues such as family violence and homelessness.

“We’re getting on with making sure that new technology supports the delivery of services the community needs,”  said Jennings. “We don’t need a thousand different websites and hotlines for things like car registration and birth certificates. This is about taking away the pain when dealing with government, as well as lowering the cost.”

The Information Technology Strategy 2016-2020 sets out the government’s direction across four areas to better use technology to serve the state.

Firstly, information and data sharing will be improved to better deal with complex areas such as family violence and digital platforms will be improved to streamline access to everyday services.

The plan also aims to make better use of “off-the-shelf IT systems” to be shared across government, with new cloud-based platforms to further support productivity

Finally, it aims to improve public service capacity for projects that are delivered to time, money and specification, boosted by building more relationships with expert partners.

A data agency will further be established to facilitate information sharing between agencies, which will help address gaps in information management process identified in the Royal Commission into Family Violence.

Making government information and data accessible to businesses, universities and the community is hoped to uncover “hidden insights, drive innovative policy solutions and improve service delivery”, the government said.

For example, apps like Tramtracker can only function if the right data is made available.

“Open data will mean programmers will only be limited by their imagination and not by the government’s failure to release such information,” the statement said.

According to Jennings: “Open data and the better sharing of information will also allow our state’s brightest and most innovative minds to deal with policy challenges affecting our state.”

Welcoming the release of the strategy, Australian Information Industry Association CEO Rob Fitzpatrick said: “It embraces the opportunities to use digital technology to engage with citizens more effectively, use data more powerfully to inform decision making and build the internal systems, capabilities and skills essential to modern, open government.”

“This strategy reflects a holistic approach to modernising government. AIIA stands ready to assist the Victorian Government to execute the strategy over the next four years,” he said.

Image credit: Gavin Jennings