A $33.3m investment in large-scale identity management systems will form a cornerstone of the government's Digital Transformation Office (DTO) – an umbrella effort to securely push government service delivery online – which will be fast-tracked through a $254.7m Budget allocation over four years that will see numerous other agencies chipping in to support the transformation agenda.
The creation of a “trusted digital identity framework” will provide both individuals and businesses with “easier ways” to access government services, according to the 2015 Budget papers.
A further $11.5m will support improvements to the Tell Us Once service, a years-old initiative that securely and seamlessly pushes updates to personal information through a range of government agencies.
Such platforms will lie at the core of efforts to improve citizens' interactions with government, which will manifest through a whole-of-government digital mailbox solution that was allocated $7.1m in funding in the new Budget.
The DTO effort will draw on resources from a range of agencies, with the ATO, Department of Social Services, Department of Human Services, Department of Finance, and Department of Industry and Science all contributing to the effort as some $120m in funding is redirected to the DTO's establishment.
In the short term, $95.4m will be spent over four years to establish the new DTO as a new Executive Agency within the Communications portfolio, which is overseen by communications minister Malcolm Turnbull.
That agency has been tasked with helping government agencies shift to a 'digital first' model of engagement, and in preparation for that shift last month the DTO released a Digital Service Standard that imposes strict security requirements on all government agencies.
Agencies will have until September to outline digital transition plans that will include compliance with the 36 Protective Security Policy Framework (PSPF) requirements as well as the Australian Signals Directorate's Information Security Manual (ISM). The costs of this transition will be met within the core funding provided to the DTO, according to the 2015 Budget papers.
Also outlined in the department's 2015 Budget statements is an ongoing commitment by the Australian Department of Communications to reinforce its role as an advisory and educational service in an effort to “inform and educate” Australian consumers and small businesses about the risk of financial fraud and loss of personal information online, according to its Budget papers.
This target will be substantially delivered by the establishment of the Office of the Children's e-Safety Commissioner by 1 July this year.
Long-time security expert Alistair MacGibbon was appointed as Children's e-Safety Commissioner in March, fulfilling a 2013 election promise.
The effort has been funded with a $10m allocation that includes $2.4m for establishment of the office; $100,000 to support research and information campaigns on online safety; and $7.5m over three years to help schools access accredited online safety programs.
The department also noted the need for “effective regulatory frameworks” about areas such as telecommunications markets, online safety and security, while subsidiary agency the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) also flagged “national safety and security interests” as a key deliverable in its communications infrastructure and services planning.
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