Queensland government eyes ‘digital by default’

State government unveils new ‘digital first’ strategy

Queensland has unveiled a new digital strategy that envisages making more government services available online and increased use of machine learning, cloud computing, and data analytics.

“Queenslanders want digital by default,” Leeanne Enoch, the state’s minister for innovation, science and the digital economy and minister for small business, this morning told a launch event hosted by the Australian Information Industry Association.

“They want their government to give them a similar experience to the online service that they get from banks or when they do online shopping. They want us to fit into their lives when they need us.”

The new strategy — DIGITAL1ST: Advancing our digital future (PDF) — aims to make the state Australia’s “leader in digital government”, the minister said.

“For our customers, we are designing services to be more intuitive, joined up across departments, and delivered when and how our customers want them — making the Queensland digital government more personalised,” the strategy states.

“It won’t be long until all government services, not just the transactional services, are underpinned by digital technology. We need to make sure that what we do today, lays strong foundations for the digital services of tomorrow.”

The state government aims to move more services online, Enoch said. “When we replace paper-based transactions with online services we save around $13 per transaction,” the minister said.

“So far we’ve saved about $400 million per year since our 400 new online services were introduced and we’ve got more soon to come.”

Over the last three years the number of online Queensland government services has grown from 40 to more than 500, and the strategy has as a goal making all transactions available online.

“It’s not just about savings,” the minister said. “We recognise that people don’t have the time to visit a counter with a form and an ID every time they want to apply for a licence or service, but over 300 government services still need you to do just that.

“So we’ve introduced a new digital service that means in the future Queenslanders can ‘prove it once’ online — that’s a time-saving equivalent to a day per year for every Queenslander.”

The new digital ID has been trialled with 30 services and some 300,000 customers, the minister said.

There is still more work to be done to advance the government’s digital agenda, she said

Teams within state government agencies are collaborating to “take a citizen view” and “wrap services around the customer and reduce how many departments they need to deal with on the same issue”.

The state government is investing in the digital skills of the public service – not just in technical areas, but also digital leadership, design, information management, security, and analysis, she said.

“All agencies will report on their outcomes and focus on new digital opportunities so we can continue to deliver improvements,” Enoch said.

The state government is making “faster, easier and cheaper” for private sector to do business with the government, she added.

“We’re willing to rethink everything – from how we do procurement through to legislation and regulation,” Enoch said.

In August the state launched the Queensland Information Technology Contracting Framework to smooth ICT procurement. The framework is a product of collaboration across government and with the private sector, Enoch said.

Other elements of the new digital strategy include greater use of machine learning, staging proof of concepts involving intelligent automation across corporate services and the increasing use of cloud computing.

The strategy also envisages launching a pilot for the first multi-agency ‘Data Analytics and Information Sharing’ project, which the document said would “explore new ways to adopt emerging technology, such as machine learning, to connect our disparate data sets, identify patterns and trends across Queensland government, so we can achieve our goals for a better Queensland.”

The government is preparing to release its first open data policy statement, the document states.

Other plans outlined in the document include:

• Launching a “digital marketplace”.

• Establishing “Digital Think Tanks”

• In collaboration with Data61 establishing Q-Foresight a “foresight service that can be used by government agencies to assist with their understanding of future trends, risks and scenarios over the next 5-20 years”.

• Trialling “blended workforces”, “for instance trialling humanoid robots in Transport and Main Roads Service Centres and in the Department of Education”.

Last month the state government revealed it is preparing to launch a whole-of-government drones strategy.

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