NT government plans $1m boost to IT industry

Territory government unveils new digital strategy

The Northern Territory government has announced a Digital Partnerships grant program as one of the key initiatives in the NT’s first-ever digital strategy.

The Digital Territory strategy was launched yesterday by the NT’s minister for corporate and information services, Lauren Moss.

The government last year foreshadowed the strategy’s launch, establishing an Office of Digital Government led by Sandie Matthews.

The government has earmarked $1 million over two years for the new grants program, with matching funds to be offered to local ICT businesses developing “digital innovations” in partnership with other industries.

Guidelines for new grant program will “be developed over coming months,” the government said. The program will launch early next year.

“Around 92 per cent of future jobs will require digital skills, so it’s critical that we are laying the foundations now for a digitally savvy Territory, where Territorians not only have the skills and knowledge they need to take on the jobs of the future but are also equipped to become digital leaders and innovators,” Moss said in a statement.

“The ICT industry is rapidly becoming a foundation industry that will underpin the success of other industry sectors across the economy,” the minister said.

“All businesses from local family operations to large corporates depend on reliable ICT services and need to take advantage of digital innovations and technology advances to remain competitive.

“The local ICT industry has been telling me that they want to grow their own capabilities and businesses by supporting other industries to make these digital advances.”

The new strategy outlines initiatives across five key areas: Growing jobs and businesses, connectivity for NT communities, boosting digital skills, smarter communities and improving government services.

Headline actions in the government services pillar of the strategy include shifting to a dual data centre model and the Territory’s $64 million, four year program to implement an integrated child protection and youth justice solution as part of the response to recommendations of the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory.

Other major ongoing projects contained in the strategy include the mammoth Core Clinical Systems Renewal Program (CCSRP)  and the launch of the NT’s cyber security operations centre.

An initiative listed as being in the ‘explore’ phase is monitoring the national implementation of digital identification that will potentially “enable the government to verify Territorians’ identities, expediting processing times and reducing the need for paper-based proof of identity”.

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