By Lilia Guan
The Australian Government had an annual expenditure of $5 billion, special minister of State Gary Gray said.
He released a report outlining expenditure by government departments in 2008-09 and 2009-10.
“The government’s investment in ICT is improving the way it delivers services to the community and industry.”
Australia’s total ICT market is estimated to be worth nearly $100 billion.
The newly released report shows the; the Australian Government is a major consumer and producer of ICT services, with annual expenditure of about $5 billion per year;
ICT expenditure has increased marginally between the two years in real terms (i.e. after correcting for the effects of inflation), but decreased as a proportion of departmental operating costs;
Also ICT accounted for about 5 per cent of agencies’ total operating costs in 2009-10.
The Government is investing in enhancing and extending its ICT capability, with 30 per cent of its expenditure on new projects in 2009-10.
Some of the major service improvement projects in progress enabled by ICT include; service delivery reform (Department of Human Services) - transforming government service delivery by delivering more one-stop-shops, more self service options and more intensive support for those who need it; and Passport redevelopment program (Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade) - a new passport issuing system to help the Department achieve better client service including through 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.”
The data has been sourced from agencies subject to the Financial Management and Accountability (FMA) Act 1997 through an annual ICT benchmarking data collection exercise conducted by the Department of Finance and Deregulation.
The objectives of the ICT benchmarking program are to measure progress in improving the efficiency and effectiveness of ICT services in the delivery of government programs, and inform other whole-of-government ICT policy initiatives.
Data for the 2010-11 financial year is currently being analysed. It is anticipated that a report including this data will be released in the next couple of months.
Although the data was a step in the right direction, such a report gave no insight into what IT projects worked and what failed, said Gartner analyst, Steve Bittinger.
He told Government News with data from only two years available, it’s hard for any procurement officer to see the trends in government ICT expenditure.
“Government expenditure has always been around that level, some periods it has gone slightly up and other it has slightly come down,” he said.
“The data offered is abstract and offers no information about individual small, medium and large agencies.
“It’s a good step in transparency but a better example of IT spending comes from the United States Government
. Each agency is given a risk or success rating for their IT project.”