Michael Keenan, the Federal Minister for human services and Minister assisting the Prime Minister for digital transformation, has laid out the coalition government’s vision for Australia to position itself as a global driver of digital transformation in response to a critical need for the nation to be “keeping pace with technological change.”
Addressing the Australian Information Industry Association for the first time since adding the digital innovation brief to his remit, Keenan said Australians were embracing technology like never before. “They expect services – whether they are coming from government or the private sectr – to be simple, convenient and easy to use,” he added, noting also the increasing speed of digital disruption more broadly.
“It is also absolutely clear to me that [this] requires us to be a leader in digital transformation,” the Minister said.
“In the same way that so many industries have been disrupted and transformed by the advent of new technologies, we, as a government, must also seek to disrupt and transform ourselves and the way we engage with, and deliver for, all Australians.”
Keenan argued that “the old ways of doing things, like forcing our customers to do business with us over the counter, must be re-imagined and refined.”
“in doing so, we are not only improving the lives of our citizens, but we are also making government services more cost-effective and – most importantly – ensuring that we are not left behind in a rapidly evolving digital world,” he said.
Specifically, some key initiatives announced included the development of a Digital Transformation Strategy for the Commonwealth to allow the government to become a world leader in digital transformation within the next seven years.
“By 2025 Australia will be one of the top three digital governments in the world.”
‘The strategy will outline a set of clear goals and next steps for delivering Australia’s digital future,” Keenan said, flagging particular focus areas such as:
- The government’s engagement and service delivery: To make government interactions and engagement easier for both individuals and businesses
- Decision making: To make smarter, more innovative and informed decisions through the use of data and analytics –
- Government supporting structures and business models: To make government fit for the challenges of the digital age by adapting to new and emerging technology. This, Keenan stressed, would involve challenging the mindset and processes of the Australian Public Service.
In addition, Keenan said the digital transformation strategy will be accompanied by a clear roadmap setting out key scheduled milestones across all areas of focus over the next two years.
“The roadmap will identify new and improved services delivered to Australian individuals and organizations, from students and welfare recipients to tax practitioners and businesses, from patients and older Australians to overseas travellers,” said Keenan.
“I expect that I will be in a position to share the final strategy and roadmap… in Quarter 3 of this year,” he said.
“In order to develop the strategy and roadmap, I have asked Digital Transformation Agency to adopt an agile approach and ensure it is consulting and engaging across all stakeholders. So far, the DTA has already engaged face-to-face across 30 government agencies, and have canvassed the views of more than 500 stakeholders on digital maturity to explore the opportunities and the possibilities ahead of us,” he added.
“As a result, DTA has developed the alpha draft of the strategy, which is now being circulated for comments across the public sector.”
“The DTA will also be running consultations with the industry shortly to gather your input to help deliver a bold, yet pragmatic strategy that will truly deliver Australia’s digital future,” the Minister told the AIIA audience.