The Federal Government last night delivered a scaled back budget with the aim of returning it to surplus and reducing debt. So far it’s been described as a ‘no thrills, no frills’ performance. But what’s in it for ICT?
Here are the major winners for ICT in the 2010-11 federal budget:
- $466.7 million will go to the development of a “personally controlled electronic health records”. The move is being pitched as a “key building block of the National Health and Hospitals Network”.
- The National Broadband Network (NBN) has already funds allocated, but last night the Government also tipped in $12.9 million to the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy and $2.1 million to the Department of Finance and Deregulation to help with policy and regulatory measures, contract oversight and management of NBN Co shares.
- On the mandatory ISP-level filter, the Government said it "will reallocate existing cyber‑safety funding of $40.8 million available over five years and provide additional ongoing funding of $3.0 million per annum". It restated its plan to introduce legislatin to require all ISPs to run a filter of refused classification material hosted on overseas servers.
- The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) will get $24 million over five years to set up and administer the NBN’s regulatory arrangements.
- An additional $108.8 million will go to the new ePassport system being rolled out at airports. While $5.9 million is provided as ongoing funding to Australia’s Fraudulent Travel Document Detection System for identity fraud.
- $11.9 million over three years will go toward implementing a "whole‑of‑government data centre strategy for the procurement of data centre facilities and services".
- The Government will spend $69.4 million over four years to roll out biometric checking systems at overseas locations to verify the identities of those looking to travel to Australia.
- $9.2 million will be funnelled to the Regional Movement Alert System (RMAS), which “enables automatic verification of passports issued by each participating country”
- The embattled and hardly used Document Verification Scheme that aims to prevent identity theft will get another $23.6 million.
- The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry ($137.6m) and the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service ($127.9m) will split $346.8 million for biosecurity, including IT upgrades for export certificates.
- Centrelink will pocket $71 million over four years to investigate suspected cases of organised welfare fraud. The funding will go “towards IT system developments to enable Centrelink to work more effectively with law enforcement agencies and intelligence sources, as well as staff including investigators to implement the measure”.
- $125.2 million will be spent over four years to create a single, national online registration system for business names and ABNs, along with a whole-of-government regulatory information website called Business Licensing Information Service. The Government claims this will save up to $1.5 billion in red tape over eight years.
- Security and law enforcement agencies will receive $101.6 million in additional funding for telecommunications interception work.
- The Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) will get $24 million for new “analytical technologies” to pursue serious and organised crime, tax evasion and financial fraud
- The Department of Immigration and Citizenship is earmarked for $11.4 million over four years for the Next Generation Border Security Initiative that aims to help ASIO detect “visa applicants who may represent national security risks” through advanced data analysis.
- As part of its obligations to audit NBN Co’s financial statements, the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) will receive an additional $400,000, while also benefiting from an increase in funding from $71.4 million to $72.9 million to up its IT and other specialist capabilities among other things.
- $375.4 million over 12 years will be used to “provide transmission of digital free-to-air television services from a new satellite platform – the Viewer Access Satellite Television (VAST) service”
- The Federal Government also announced 39,000 new training places in sectors facing high skills demand and the establishment of a $200 million Critical Skills Investment Fund. Budget papers suggest construction, infrastructure, renewable energy and resource sectors will benefit most. Computerworld Australia is seeking clarification if ICT will become a beneficiary.