Govt reports on Y2K compliance

Yesterday saw the release of new information on the Y2K readiness of individual commonwealth government agencies, and statements on the readiness of several industry sectors from federal government ministers.

The report, containing Y2K compliance details on 108 commonwealth agencies, reveals the percentage of systems that are compliant, the percentage under assessment, the percentage under repair and testing and the percentage of completed contingency plans for individual agencies.

Meanwhile, commonwealth ministers released statements on the Y2K readiness of key sectors including the finance industry, the aviation industry and the communications industry.

Senator Richard Alston, Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, said: "The government is sending a strong message to other governments and industry to follow the commonwealth's lead and make public statements on key sectors of the economy."

The report on government agencies' compliance levels reveals Y2K readiness at February 5, 1999, but notes significant changes since that date.

The next report on the readiness of commonwealth agencies is expected in June, and, said Alston, is expected to show commonwealth Y2K remediation as mostly complete.

"While this is encouraging, we cannot become complacent. The commonwealth's focus will move increasingly towards contingency planning, such as allowing for manual information processing or shifting due dates, to minimise the possibility of any unforeseen disruptions," he said.

Meanwhile, the Treasurer, Peter Costello, issued a statement yesterday on year 2000 preparedness in the Australian financial sector.

Costello said, "I understand that remediation and internal testing of critical systems has largely been completed [in the financial sector], and that the majority of financial institutions expect to complete external testing - the last stage towards achieving year 2000 compliance - by end June 1999."

The treasurer also indicated that he has been advised that testing is well advanced in payments clearing systems, with completion of tests due at the end of June.

Also yesterday, John Anderson, Federal Minister for Transport and Regional Services, issued a statement on Y2K compliance in the aviation industry.

According to Anderson, "CASA [the Civil Aviation Safety Authority] is continuing to develop its regulatory framework for assessing Y2K compliance, with the aim being to ensure safety in the best possible way."

Anderson indicated that Qantas and Ansett expect to have critical systems Y2K compliant by July 1999.

Qantas and Ansett expect to complete business continuity and back up plans by August and September, 1999, respectively, Anderson said.

In terms of air traffic management, Anderson said Airservices Australia "is confident there will be no disruption to the services it provides the aviation industry as a result of the impact of the millennium bug on systems within its control,"Anderson warned "Australians travelling abroad over the period of the date change should be aware that many countries might not be as well prepared as Australia."

Alston reported that the communications industry was well advanced in terms of Y2K preparedness.

"Reports indicate that more than 85 per cent of network remediation is now complete with the remainder representing less critical network equipment to be completed by the end of the third quarter of 1999," Alston said, referring to the networks of Telstra, Cable & Wireless Optus, Vodafone and AAPT.

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