Australian Bureau of Statistics appoints new CIO

Steve Hamilton to join agency from ATO

The Australian Bureau of Statistics has recruited to Steve Hamilton to take charge of IT at the agency.

Hamilton has been appointed the ABS chief information officer and general manager, Technology & Security Division, a spokesperson for the agency told Computerworld.

Hamilton is currently a deputy commissioner at the Australian Taxation Office, with his role at the ABS to commence on 22 May.

The ABS’s previous IT chief, Patrick Hadley, retired from his role earlier this year.

The public sector veteran held the ABS CIO role for half a decade. He joined the bureau in 2012 after a stint at Department of Human Services as its general manager, portfolio technology integration and before that as CIO for the Child Support Agency.

The ABS has been under heightened scrutiny after last year’s Census was marred by problems with its online delivery.

ABS and lead contractor IBM were both criticised after a series of distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks led to the Census website temporarily being pulled offline.

In the aftermath of the Census, the Prime Minister’s Special Advisor on Cyber Security, Alastair MacGibbon, conducted a review that concluded the DDoS attacks that targeted the site were “defeatable” and that “more robust security planning would have led to a different outcome” on Census night.

His review and a separate inquiry by the Senate Economics References Committee raised concerns about how the contract to deliver the Census was awarded to IBM.

The report of the Senate inquiry noted ongoing concerns about the state of IT within the ABS, with a 2013 capability review arguing that the bureau’s core statistical business processes and IT were overdue for an upgrade.

The 2015-16 budget earmarked $250 million over five years to upgrade aging IT systems at the ABS.

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