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Central Government, Government CFO, Government Procurement, Healthcare IT, Technology

Australia spends US$5.3 billion on ICT

The Australian Government remains a major consumer and producer of information technology and communications (ICT) – with annual expenditure reaching AUD$5 billion annually (US$5.3 billion) says a new report.

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The report, released by Special Minister of State, Gary Gray, says the Australian Government will continue spending on ICT to streamline service delivery for communities and the industry.

The report draws on data that is collected by the Department of Finance and Deregulation from agencies as part of an annual ICT benchmarking exercise.

The department established a benchmarking framework in 2009, and began its benchmarking exercise officially with the 2008-09 data.

The report provides aggregate figures on ICT expenditure and use by agencies. It shows that the Australian Government spends about AUD$5 billion (US$5.3 billion) per year, which is about 5 per cent of the Australian ICT market, based on Australian Bureau of Statistics figures.

Key agencies earlier enhanced and extended their ICT capability, with 30 per cent of spending earmarked for new projects in 2009-10.

But the report notes that ICT investment “increased marginally” during the two years under review in real terms, factoring in inflation and a decrease in overall departmental operating costs

Minister Gary Gray says: “The report gives a very useful insight into the government ICT market. The government’s investment in ICT is improving the way it delivers services to the community and industry. 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.”

Among high-profile projects, the Australian Government’s single-largest investment is the national broadband (NBN) network. The NBN will support services in the education and health sectors, among other areas, through high-speed, fast-access communications.

Other service delivery projects have included the Department of Human Services “Service Delivery Reform.” This offering features more than one-stop-shops, self-service options and stepped-up support for citizens.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has rolled out its “Passport Redevelopment Program.” This passport issuing system improves client services through the upgrade of an online passport application system.

Data for this week’s report was sourced from agencies that are subject to a Financial Management and Accountability Act (1997). Annual reviews are carried out by the Department of Finance and Deregulation.

These ICT reviews draw on recommendations made in 2008 that agencies consider a “whole-of-government” approach to ICT procurement, while aligning technology spend with improved service delivery.

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