The Department of Veterans’ Affairs will receive an additional $111.9 million over four years beginning in 2018-19 “to continue to transform and improve veterans’ services to more effectively and efficiently meet the current and future needs of veterans and their dependants,” budget papers reveal.
The funding will be used to upgrade the department’s IT systems that underpin veterans’ income support payments and claims as well as enhance “DVA business operations and processes to further support veterans’ claims processing and improve the delivery of health and community services to provide more targeted and efficient services to veterans and their dependants”.
The government last year passed legislation allowing the department to employ automated software systems to make decisions on veterans’ entitlements as part of an increased emphasis on digital service delivery.
The budget also included $13.1 million over four years to enhance the Australian War Memorial’s (AWM) digitisation program.
VET student loans
The government said it would earmark $36.2 million over four years from 2018-19, including $7.6 million in capital funding, for the implementation of an IT system to support the compliance and regulatory arrangements for its VET student loans program.
“The new system will leverage the existing IT platform of the Department of Human Services, which will also provide ongoing operational support,” budget documents state. “This approach will deliver both efficiencies and better services for VET providers and student”
Office of the eSafety Commissioner
The Office of the eSafety Commissioner has received funding to reflect its expanded mandate.
The government said it would provide $14.2 million over four years from 2018-19 to support the office, including $11.7 million for “new functions undertaken by the eSafety Office following the expansion of its role from promoting online safety for children to promoting online safety for all Australians”.
“These new functions include administering a new civil penalty regime to combat the non-consensual sharing of intimate images, and providing guidance and support to Australians of all ages who experience online abuse,” budget documents state.
In addition, the government put $2.5 million towards funding the office’s ongoing Certified Providers program and eSafety Women program.
The Australian Taxation Office, the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission will receive $19.3 million to develop a business case for modernising the government’s business registers as part of Canberra’s digital transformation push.
“The detailed business case will provide options for improving how businesses interact with government, and will be considered in the 2019-20 Budget,” budget documents state.
Other tech measures contained in the budget include:
• $5 million “to develop a national digital baby book to enable Australians to use technology to support the vital first 2,000 days of a child’s life”.
• $28.2 million over five years from 2017-18 to upgrade the e-prescribing software system.
•$600,000 to fund “the development of a detailed business case to modernise IP Australia’s patents management system and streamline access to its services via digital channels” (met from within IP Australia’s current budget).
• $12.2 million over three years “for a trial program to trial digital delivery of employment services for up to 10,000 job-ready participants” (this government has previously earmarked funding for the measure).