The Queensland government has announced that it will be spending an additional AU$40 million on digitising government services, transforming the delivery of scientific information, and safeguarding state records.
The extra funding was announced as part of the state’s 2017-18 Budget, and sees the total spend on the government’s digital transformation tip AU$419 million.
“A revolution is sweeping our economy. Our challenge is to improve government service delivery against this backdrop of digital transformation, open up our data to provide the building blocks for the knowledge economy, and make better use of government data to unlock Queensland’s full potential,” Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy Leeanne Enoch said.
AU$20 million has been allocated to transforming government services through the state’s One-Stop Shop program, which is in response to the demand from citizens expecting an Uber-like experience with government.
“We are working to make it easier for Queenslanders to interact with the state government,” Enoch said. “One-Stop Shop works with all tiers of government and partners to provide customers easy access to information and services.”
One such example of a “better” service being delivered, Enoch explained, is an online seniors’ concessions service which streamlines access to concessions for people over 65.
“This has reduced the processing time of applications from 20 days to one day,” she said in a statement. “Understandably, this service has received overwhelming positive feedback.”
Throughout its three-year history, One-Stop Shop has increased the number of online services it offers from around 40 to more than 400.
In 2013, 40 percent of the total information about Queensland government services was available online; the state now claims 100 percent of its service information is available via www.qld.gov.au.
Similarly, the government is providing additional funding of AU$6.2 million in 2017-18 for the first phase of the Science ICT Remediation and Renewal Program, which is aimed at modernising the delivery of science services.
Open Data will also receive an additional AU$1.1 million over two years to increase the publication of “high value” datasets and improve the visualisation of data, with Enoch explaining that the work delivered under the Open Data initiative will enable access to free, useable government data in a bid to encourage the growth of new and innovative services, projects, and businesses.
In an effort to give greater access to digital records, the Queensland government has injected AU$12.7 million into a digital archive solution that will remain relevant regardless of technology advancements or changes.
The state’s Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC) has been given AU$31.6 million over five years to expand and upgrade existing audio visual capability in the criminal justice system.
The CCC will also be continuing its paper services digitisation, and will be evaluating new commercial technologies for potential benefits in reducing the impact of increasing demand on Justice Services. This follows the 2016-17 establishment of an independent Crime Statistical Body to deliver criminal justice statistics, research, and evaluation.
The 2017-18 capital program includes a handful of projects designed to facilitate improvements in the state’s digital infrastructure, which includes AU$135.4 million for Queensland Health to invest in IT equipment and services.
This will include investment in core infrastructure to support digital hospitals, and replacement and enhancement of core clinical and business systems to support front-line health service provision, corporate functions, and decision making at the point of care, the Budget paper explains.
Also under the capital program is AU$12 million for the Queensland Institute of Medical Research to help with the acquisition of new and/or replacement state-of-the-art scientific equipment.
Likewise, AU$11.7 million will be given to Queensland Treasury to implement the Office of State Revenue Transformation Program.
The Queensland government is expected to record a net operating surplus of AU$2.8 billion in 2016-17, which is the state’s largest surplus in a decade. State Treasurer Curtis Pitt expects the 2017-18 surplus to sit around the AU$146 million mark, citing the cost of natural disasters such as Cyclone Debbie as impacting factors.
Also included in the state Budget is the AU$15 million boost to the Advance Queensland initiative, taking the total innovation kitty investment to AU$420 million.