Budget 2018: $130 million tech boost for Dutton’s Home Affairs

Identity system, analytics upgrades funded

The government will make $130 million available, including $94 million in capital funding, to improve the ICT capability of the newly created Department of Home Affairs.

The department was established in December.

Budget documents state the funds will be used “to upgrade the capacity and performance of the Department of Home Affairs’ ICT infrastructure, enhance its analytics and threat management capabilities and establish a platform for the enterprise identity management system”.

The Home Affairs ‘super ministry’ led by Peter Dutton is a product of the government’s response to the L'estrange review of Australia’s intelligence community. The portfolio covers immigration, border protection and domestic security and law enforcement agencies.

A bill passed yesterday by the House of Representatives with bipartisan support allocated a range of ministerial powers to Home Affairs as part of the department’s establishment.

The budget also allocates $59.1 million over four years from 2018-19 to enable the joint federal and state initiative to build a National Criminal Intelligence System (NCIS).

“The NCIS will provide a national, unified picture of criminal activity to better enable law enforcement and intelligence agencies to combat criminal and national security threats,” budget documents state.

The system “will provide frontline police the information and intelligence they need to combat crime and disrupt the terrorism threat,” a statement issued by Dutton’s office said.

In addition the government has allocated $68.6 million over four years to launch the Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation (ACCCE) — an initiative originally announced in March.

“The scale and complexity of the challenge [of child exploitation] is compounded by technology and the continuing evolution of that technology for what is a borderless crime,” the March announcement stated.

“In the digital era, it has never been easier for perpetrators to contact children and share images of abuse and torture through global networks.

“The level of such material is increasing in volume and the nature of it is becoming more violent and extreme.”

“ACCCE will provide a capability not currently possessed by any single agency and will ensure a national approach and response to the abhorrent exploitation and abuse of children,” budget documents state.

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