Fed govt scores its Y2K progress

Federal government departments and agencies appear to have a tighter grip on year 2000 compliance projects than government business enterprises (GBE) and external entities, according to a progress report released by Senator Alston, Minister for Communication, Information Technology and the Arts, yesterday.

However, the government's July deadline appears to be creeping dangerously close for many agencies.

According to the report, a total of 59 per cent of "business critical" systems in government departments and agencies are already compliant. This is an increase on 44 per cent in November 1998. The report also stated that a total of 38 per cent of systems are currently under repair with only 3 per cent still to be assessed.

Despite assuring Australians in the report the federal government will be year 2000 ready, Senator Alston indicated his own department still has more than half its business-critical systems to fix.

The report - the third on Y2K progress released by the government - said only 36 per cent of business-critical systems within the Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, are compliant; 59 per cent of systems are under repair and 4 per cent are still to be assessed.

Other departments lagging behind on year 2000 projects include the Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs which has 50 per cent of systems under repair and 48 per cent already compliant; the Department of Education, Training and Youth Affairs with 52 per cent systems compliant and 44 per cent under repair and the Veterans' Affairs Department which has 38 per cent of systems compliant and 60 per cent under repair.

According to the report, a number of GBEs and external entities still have more than half their systems under repair. Entities with the Department of Defence, the Transport and Regional Services Department, Employment, Workplace Relations and Small Business Department and the Department of Health and Aged Care are less than 50 per cent compliant at this stage but have more than half their systems under repair or testing, the report said.

According to the government, business-critical technologies include software and hardware which may cause "unacceptable business impacts" if they fail. These may include technologies supporting human safety and well-being, law and order, national security, the economy and significant revenues and expenditures.

The report also said a number of departments and agencies had progressed slowly since the last report released in November due to portfolio changes and transferred responsibilities.

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