Victoria floats ICT plan to reduce spending waste

The Victorian government seeks comment on ICT proposals by 17 October.

A draft ICT plan for Victoria aims to control costs of ICT purchases and projects. The Victorian Coalition government has asked for feedback on the plan, which was written by the Victorian Information and Communications Advisory Committee (VICTAC).

Victoria Technology Minister Gordon Rich-Phillips called the plan “practical” and “forward-looking”.

“With VICTAC’s draft strategy, ICT enabled projects will be structured to deliver benefits more quickly through co-ordinated smaller, staged projects,” Rich-Phillips said. “This approach should improve delivery timelines and reduce the risk of delivery issues.”

The plan also seeks to increase collaboration with Victorian ICT companies. “We will work with them to define and deliver business outcomes, rather than just narrowly defining technology requirements,” Rich-Phillips said.

The plan is the latest salvo in the Coalition government’s response to what it views as mismanagement of ICT by the previous Labor government. The Coalition proposed overhauls to ICT procurement in August.

“Victoria has experienced some expensive failures in ICT‐enabled business change projects,” according to the draft plan. “However, such projects are critical for productivity and service delivery reforms. The solution is not to avoid ICT‐enabled projects but to address the past failures through a more rigorous and considered approach.”

The plan outlines several principles to guide future ICT decision-making:

  • Use of popular digital channels, including smartphones and social media
  • Government will seek input from citizens and businesses
  • Data will be open and shared
  • Government will promote competition and favour shorter contract terms
  • Interoperable and reusable ICT systems
  • Government will trial technologies to reduce risk.

Grantly Mailes, chairman of the Victorian committee, said technology is changing the interaction between government and the public. “Shifts in technology, culture and economies are leading governments across the world to reassess their role, and how they deliver services. Victoria has the added advantage of a strong local ICT industry ready to contribute to this process,” he said.

“We want to use information and technology to benefit Victoria,” Rich-Phillips said. “Online services and new technologies continue to transform the way we shop, bank and live. Government must take advantage of these capabilities to remain in touch with the industry, to connect with our communities and to drive down the cost of government services.”

The Victorian government seeks comment on the complete ICT draft plan by 17 October.

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