Budget 2015: Funding for NDIS IT, Centrelink payments platform
- 13 May, 2015 10:24
The government's second budget sets aside $143 million over four years for IT systems to help deliver the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
The NDIS is administered by the National Disability Insurance Agency, which currently relies on an interim ICT platform managed by the Department of Social Services, budget documents state.
The current system was designed to support 30,000 people during NDIS trials. The full NDIS program will support will support more than 460,000 people in 2019-20. The system will be managed by the Department of Human Services.
Funding for the program will include $50.3 million allocated in the 2012-13 to NDIA.
Replacing Centrelink's payments platform
The budget also sets aside $60.5 million over four years for the first stage of replacing the government's welfare payments platform.
The 'Welfare Payment Infrastructure Transformation' will "progressively replace Centrelink’s ageing technology platform with a new welfare payment information and communications technology (ICT) system to improve the quality and efficiency of service delivery to support the timely implementation of policy changes," budget documents state.
The first stage involves planning, scoping and design work. The cost will be offset from "existing resources within the Social Services Portfolio", budget documents state.
The government revealed this year it would spend around $1 billion in total upgrading Centrelink's welfare payments system, which dates back to 1983.
The system is currently managed by the Model 204 (M204) database for IBM mainframes, with some 350 additional components bolted on top of it.
“The system meets current functional requirements, but layers of business rules, processes and policy changes built up over the past three decades have made it extremely complex, inflexible and costly to maintain,” stated a government backgrounder issued in April by the Minister for Human Services, Senator Marise Payne
"The new welfare payment system will save customers time and effort by offering smarter and easier online end-to-end services. It will also reduce the costs of administering welfare payments and save taxpayers money in the long run," said a statement issued last night by social services minister Scott Morrison.
Prior to last night's budget the government had already unveiled a number of significant IT-related budget measures, including a mammoth overhaul of the ABS's systems and a program to rejig the eHealth record rollout.
Budget documents reveal that the immigration portfolio is also a winner, with $164.8 million over four years from 2015-16 for work on ICT platforms to manage biometric data and visa information, the rollout of eGates at airports and seaports, and additional equipment and training for the Australian Border Force.
The budget also includes $295.8 million over six years for the Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS), including upgrades to ASIS's ICT systems.
AFP data centre strategy
$17.6 million over four years has been set aside first phase of the Australian Federal Police’s new data centre strategy. "The first phase of the strategy will start to transition the AFP’s data centre activities to align with the whole of government Data Centre Policy," according to budget documents published last night.
Boosting network security
Up to $12.9 million over four years will be spent by the Department of Finance on secure networking equipment, including wireless infrastructure, for electorate officers and parliament's network.
"The replacement of obsolete communications equipment will result in improved information technology security for electorate offices and parliamentary systems in Parliament House," budget documents say.
Central Budget Management System
The government will spend an undisclosed amount on further redeveloping its Central Budget Management System (CBMS).
"The redeveloped CBMS will deliver a stable technology platform that supports business process improvements and delivers functional efficiencies. The high level customisation required has increased the development effort necessary to complete the project," budget documents state.