Roadmap to keep us accountable: Keenan

The Commonwealth’s digital transformation strategy will be accompanied by a roadmap setting out targets and expected completion dates, minister says. 

The new strategy, to be released “in the near future,” will be continually renewed and refreshed to account for new technologies and trends, Minister for Digital Transformation Michael Keenan has said. 

Addressing public concerns with privacy and security will be fundamental to the new strategy, which will focus on improving front-end government service delivery, achieving smarter decision making, and adopting new technologies. 

The accompanying roadmap will set out important milestones and when they are expected to be reached, Minister Keenan told the Gartner Symposium on Monday. 

“We want to make sure the strategy delivers tangible results, and we will do that by keeping ourselves accountable to it,”  he told the Gold Coast audience. 

He announced the government will soon be launching the first pilot service for the government’s new opt-in digital identity platform myGovID – a fully digital tax file application process. 

“A whole range of services” for the digital identity service will be forthcoming “over the next few months”, Mr Keenan said, adding that myGovID would soon be a mechanism to use all government services online. 

Elsewhere, the minister said that the Commonwealth saw “significant potential” in the use of digital assistants. Some 35 different agencies are currently part of a community of practice for the technology coordinated by the Digital Transformation Agency, he said.

Evaluation and user testing with the Australian Taxation Office is exploring whether the ATO’s digital assistant “Alex” could be provided as an “additional tool” to help contact staff, he said. 

Data for drought initiative 

On the use of data, the minister said federal and state agencies had recently pooled information from a variety of sources to create a “common operating picture of the drought”. 

Using NationalMap as a base, the project combined environmental data, such as soil moisture and rain fall, with socioeconomic data and information about government programs to “create a common operating picture” to assist the national drought taskforce and other agencies, he said. 

Similarly, work done through the data integration partnerships had led to the discovery of drug combinations that could cause serious harm or death, the minister said. 

“Without data analytics uncovering these combinations this would have require years of studies and clinical trials, and even then it would have been very difficult for us to expose,” he said. 

‘Keep your nerve’ 

On adopting technology more broadly, Minister Keenan pointed to the installation of airport smart gates as “a great example of how important it is to keep your nerve when rolling out new technology.”

He said the technology, which has cut the wait time to clear immigration “down to 15 seconds” and processed 25 million people in 2016-17, initially drew concerns about the use of bio-metric data to identify people when it was first adopted a decade ago.

“I’ll continue to use smart gates as an example of digital transformation in action,” he said.

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