Funding to help government agencies, departments and programs respond to COVID, increase data protection and improve public sector efficiency has been outlined in the federal budget which was handed down this week.
The national science agency CSIRO, which earlier this year faced job losses and budget cuts, will get a $459 million lifeline over four years to compensate for the impact of COVID-19 on its commercial activities and ensure it’s able to continue essential scientific research. The funding includes $5 million this year to upgrade its agriculture and grazing research facilities.
The Bureau of Meteorology will get $225 million over four years to ensure it can respond to weather emergencies and natural disasters, and $29 million to plug its aviation services following a downturn in airline activity as a result of COVID.
The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) receives $238 million for core operations as well as nuclear medicine production, radioactive waste management and nuclear decommissioning activities. An undisclosed amount has also been provided for a scoping study on the organisation’s “governance and commercial arrangements”.
The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has been allocated $1.4 billion over the next 12 years to continue research and and development investment for emerging low emissions technologies.
The government will provide $55.6 million to ‘reactivate’ the Christmas Island detention centre to accommodate people who are in Australia illegally and released prisoners who can’t be deported because of COVID border restrictions.
Improving eSafety and upgrading ICT
The Office of the eSafety Commissioner will have $39.4 million over three years to respond to increased demand for existing programs and to oversee a new adult cyber abuse takedown scheme.
The Australian Electoral Commission’s (AEC) ICT systems and infrastructure will be upgraded and modernised with $96.7 million over three years, and $22.5 million over two years will go towards maintaining the myGov system and the enhanced myGov Beta, enabling it to support over 18 million accounts and connect the public to the services of 13 government agencies.
The government will put $15.6 million over four years towards increasing security around critical technologies, including the creation a Critical Technologies Policy Coordination Office within the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.
An undisclosed amount will be provided to secure date storage for Home Affairs, ASIC, the Australian Digital Health Agency and the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).
$29m spent to improve government spending
Meanwhile, there’s $29.6 million over four years for the finance department to assess the quality of government spending, and $35.6 million to develop a model for a Whole-of-Government shared ERP (GovERP).
The Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) will get a $104.9 million boost, which will also support the development of a new financial data reporting system to help industry meet reporting requirements under money laundering and counter-terrorism financing laws.
The government will also provide $4.5 million over four years for the finance department to establish a new Whole of Australian Government Management Advisory Services consultancy panel, designed to improve the quality and efficiency of services.
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