[LINK] IT matters of interest in the 2009/2010 Federal Budget
Tom.Worthington at tomw.net.au
Wed May 13 08:43:06 EST 2009
Just about every year since the Australian
<http://www.budget.gov.au/2008-09/> was first put
on the web, I have done a quick search though the
documents to find matters of interest in
information technology. Some comments follow,
with a version with links at:
This year I tried to access the 2009/2010 budget
web site at 9:38pm and got "The server at
budget.gov.au is taking too long to respond",
unlike last year. It took three attempts for the site to respond.
QUALITY OF THE WEB PAGE
Each year from 1996 to 2006 the budget web site
got better. But by 2007-08 seemed to reached a
stable design, also used for 2009/2010. The site
is in the same HTML 4.01 Transitional, as last
year and has not been changed to XHTML, as used
for newer web sites. The code is clean and efficient.
The home page failed a W3C HTML Markup Validation
test, with 4 errors (minor ones). The cached
version was not compatible with an automated
accessibility test, but it seemed likely to pass
at Level 1 as last year. The home pages scored a
poor 66/100 on the W3C mobileOK Checker.
As with the last two years, important tables in
the overview are provided as blurry image files,
while the detailed documents have better formatted HTML tables.
IT IN THE BUDGET
The budget search service appeared to be
responding slower than in 2008, perhaps due to
the excessive size and poorer formatting of the
budget documents since last year. References to
"Information Technology" are up from 9 last year to 15.
SOME IT HIGHLIGHTS
The NBN is the single largest ICT item in the
budget. There is also funding for the ABC to
create broadband content for the NBN, for health
and education using the NBN and for coordinators
to help regional communities make use of the NBN.
There are numerous small programs to improve
record keeping in government agencies The Audit
Office will also have increased budget for more IT audits.
$8.3 million over four years will be spent on a
national computer emergency response function
within the Australian Government. There is a risk
that this will duplicate work in the private
sector and the Department of Defence, in the
process lowering Australia's e-security, rather than increasing it.
There are some minor ICT budget reductions, with
the Department of Finance and Deregulation having
its funding reduced "... with streamlining
information technology standards and
public-private partnerships advice" and the
Australian Electoral Commission saving money
through closing offices and relying on the Internet and printed material.
There are programs for the higher education
sector which are likely to result in increased
ICT investment. Having just learnt how to provide
university courses via the web, using learning
management systems and e-portfolios, I expect I will be kept busy. ;-)
There are some minor climate change related
initiatives to help the department deal with
information on carbon accounting and web-based
calculators and the www.energyrating.gov.au
website. An Energy Efficiency Trust will showcase
improvements in lighting, ventilation, heating,
air conditioning, and computer systems.
Other IT measures include (from:Budget Paper No.
2, Part 3: Capital Measures, Table 3: Capital Measures):
National Broadband Network implementation and establishment ...
The Government will provide $54.2 million over
two years for the implementation and
establishment of the National Broadband Network (NBN).
Funding of $53.2 million in 2009-10 will be
provided to the Department of Broadband,
Communications and the Digital Economy to conduct
an implementation study into theNBN that will
examine detailed engineering, commercial and
structural issues and report by early 2010. The
funding will also support the department in the
early implementation of a network in Tasmania,
implementation of the regional backboneblackspots
program, and development of legislation and a regulatory framework.
The Government will also provide $0.2 million in
2008-09 and $0.9 million in 2009-10 to the
Department of Finance and Deregulation to assist
in the implementation and establishment of theNBN
company, given the departments role in advising
the Minister for Finance and Deregulation as joint shareholder.
Rural and Regional National Broadband Network
Initiative ABC regional broadband hubs ...
The Government will provide $15.3 million over three years to the Australian
Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) to assist regional
communities to create local broadband material to
complement the roll-out of the National Broadband Network.
Funding will be used to identify and employ local
producers to work on cross-media stories and to
provide training and equipment for the creation
of user-generated content. The ABC will also
establish community websites and genre portals
through the ABC Local network to develop and host
the material, allowing Australians with common
interests to talk to one another and share experiences.
Rural and Regional National Broadband Network
Initiative enhanced Digital Regions Initiative ...
The Government will provide $14.0 million over
four years to fast-track and enhance
the Digital Regions Initiative. The Digital Regions Initiative will promote
broadband-enabled delivery of health, education
and emergency services in regional, rural and
remote Australia. The additional funding will
allow for a greater number of local broadband
enabled projects to be rolled out. The initiative
will be fast-tracked by introducing a two-stage
assessment process to assist State, Territory and
local governments in expediting the assessment of applications.
Rural and Regional National Broadband Network Initiative rural NBN
The Government will provide $5.0 million over
four years to support up to 12 regional
coordinators to help local governments, community
organisations and businesses to take up broadband
in regional communities. This measure directly
supports the implementation of the National
Broadband Network regional backboneblackspots program.
Regional Telecommunications Review Response
Indigenous Communications Program ...
The Government will provide $30.0 million over four years to implement the
Indigenous Communications Program, to provide
community phones, basic public internet access
facilities and computer training for remote
Indigenous communities in partnership with the States and Territories.
E-Security Review ...
The Government will provide $8.3 million over
four years (including capital funding of $0.5
million over four years) to the
Attorney-Generals Department and the Department
of Finance and Deregulation (Finance) to
implement the major recommendations of the
E-Security Review 2008. The measure will involve
the establishment of a national computer
emergency response function within the Australian
Government, and a review of governmentinternet
gateways to reduce them to the minimum number
required for operational efficiency and reliability.
Funding for the Attorney-Generals Department
includes offsets of $1.2 million over four years
to be provided from the departments component of
the Critical Infrastructure Protection program.
Funding for Finance includes $0.5 million over
four years to be absorbed by the department.
High Court of Australia additional resourcing ...
The Government will provide funding of $9.0
million over four years (including capital
funding of $5.5 million) to allow the High Court
of Australia to maintain its general assets and
registry services and to improve its security arrangements.
Capital funding will allow the High Court to
purchase additional library resources and
implement new corporate information technology systems.
An Innovation and Higher Education System for the 21st Century Student
Income Support administrative costs ...
The Government will provide $41.1 million over
four years for the administrative costs
associated with the Student Income Support
package, including information technology
redesign and communication strategies.
Department of Finance and Deregulation increased efficiencies ...
The Government will reduce funding for the
Department of Finance and Deregulation, with
efficiencies to be achieved in several areas
including by reducing administrative support
provided to the Finance portfolio ministers and
other parliamentarians, and streamlining activity
relating to information technology standards and
public private partnerships advice.
Food Standards Australia New Zealand funding
for upgrading computer systems ...
The Government will provide $2.9 million over two
years (including $0.4 million in capital funding
for hardware and software items) to Food
Standards Australia New Zealand to fund the
development and implementation of two data
management and modelling systems to replace the
existing systems. The upgrade of the information
technology systems will allow Food Standards
Australia New Zealand to continue to meet its
obligations in assessing the safety of proposed
changes to the Australian and New Zealand food
supply as well as assessing the risk to the population in food emergencies.
Centrelink maintenance of online service infrastructure ...
The Government will provide an additional $5.7
million in 2009-10 to maintain the information
technology infrastructure that deliversCentrelinks online customer services.
Child Support Agency additional funding ...
Costs have also been incurred as a result of the
separation of the Child Support Agencys
information technology and corporate services
functions from the Australian Taxation Office.
Humanitarian Migration Program non-refoulement obligations ...
The Government will provide $4.8 million
(including capital of $0.2 million for
information technology changes) over four years
to implement a system of complementary protection
for people to whom Australia has non-refoulement
(non-return) obligations under international
human rights treaties, other than the 1951
Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees.
Systems for People operational costs ...
The Government will provide $34.8 million in 2009-10 (including capital of
$1.9 million) to the Department of Immigration
and Citizenship to support and maintain the
Systems for People information technology program.
The program was initiated in 2006 to address limitations in the departments
information systems identified by the Palmer and
Comrie reports. The program aims to develop the
departments information technology systems to
improve client service, with particular emphasis
on support for decision making and better records management.
Australian National Audit Office enhanced professional capability ...
The Government will provide $20.1 million over
four years (including capital funding of $0.9
million) to increase the ANAOs resource base.
This will allow the ANAO to enhance its auditing
activities, including performance audits,
information technology audits and other
specialist audit activities and increase
technical support and quality assurance capability.
Department of Climate Change information technology network ...
The Government will provide $3.0 million in
2008-09 for the Department of Climate Change to
migrate to a secure information technology
network and to upgrade storage and backup facilities.
Australian Carbon Trust establishment ...
The Energy Efficiency Savings Pledge Fund initiative includes funding for the
development of a web-based calculator to estimate
savings resulting from energy efficiency
activities, and for a public awareness campaign
to increase community awareness of the role of
voluntary action in the Governments climate change mitigation strategy.
National Strategy on Energy Efficiency energy efficiency labelling
upgrade or expand consumer and retailer information programs and tools,
including web-based calculators and the www.energyrating.gov.au website.
Australian Carbon Trust establishment ...
Seed funding of $50.0 million over two years will
be provided for the Energy Efficiency Trust to
promote private sector engagement in energy
efficiency activities. The Energy Efficiency
Trust will fund improvements such as more
efficient lighting, ventilation, heating and air
conditioning, and computer systems, which can be
showcased with a view to mainstreaming this
activity across the private sector. Upfront
investment will be repaid when energy cost
savings are realised, creating a revolving fund for further investment.
Participation Taskforce Review more flexible
participation requirements for parents ...
providing more ways of reporting earnings and participation efforts, such as
through telephone and web-based channels.
Australian Electoral Commission savings measures
The Government will reduce funding for the
Australian Electoral Commission ... The internet
and printed material will provide alternative
means of providing electoral education.
Comments on previous budgets:
Tom Worthington FACS HLM tom.worthington at tomw.net.au Ph: 0419 496150
Director, Tomw Communications Pty Ltd ABN: 17 088 714 309
PO Box 13, Belconnen ACT 2617 http://www.tomw.net.au/
Adjunct Senior Lecturer, Australian National University
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