The government has set aside millions of dollars in funding for legacy ICT modernisation projects in an effort to boost data sharing across agencies and improve public access to services.\n\nAs part of its Public Service Modernisation Fund the Government will invest $129.6 million over three years from 2017-18 in a number of agencies and heritage archives, to \u201csupport their transition to more modern and sustainable operating models\u201d by upgrading outdated systems.\n\n\u201cThis measure enables agencies to upgrade outdated ICT systems and other assets,\u201d Budget documents released last night, state.\n\nThe modernisation fund will accelerate the transition of agencies to shared corporate services arrangements, the government said. An additional 60 agencies will be able to consolidate their core transactional corporate services \u2013 such as financial and human resources \u2013 and back office information technology systems into one of six corporate service hubs.\n\n\u201cIt\u2019s good to see a commitment to legacy modernisation,\u201d Dean Lacheca, Gartner's public sector research director, told CIO Australia.\n\nA recent Gartner global survey of government sector CIOs found that 13 per cent of the technology budgets of public sector entities will go towards legacy modernisation this year.\n\n\u201cGovernments need to pay down technical debt by accelerating modernisation initiatives to allow them to explore alternative sourcing options and to focus on innovation and meeting citizen expectations. Application rationalisation is part of this, so the Government\u2019s commitment in the budget to platform consolidation and a shared services model should help accelerate the transition to digital government for many of the smaller agencies,\u201d Lacheca added.\n\nThe Budget also included $350 million to be spent over three years from 2017-18 in projects to \u201cmodernise, transform and enhance the productivity\u201d of agencies.\n\nThe \u201ctransformation and innovation stream\u201d of the Public Service Modernisation Fund provides for investments to \u201cadvance the collection and use of government data in the development of evidence-based policy, including people-centred policy design\u201d.\n\nThe measure enhances service delivery through the Digital Transformation Agency\u2019s development of whole-of-government platforms, the government said, to enable greater collaboration across the public service.\n\nAs part of the effort, the Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) will produce \u2018Tell Us Once\u2019 systems, to reduce the need for individuals to report similar information to multiple agencies. The DTA has also been tasked with developing a Federated Data Exchange platform to remove the need to build and maintain bespoke point?to?point data exchanges between agencies, while still complying with privacy and security requirements.\n\nProvision for this funding has already been included in the forward estimates.\n\n\u201cThe focus on shared whole-of-government platforms, the attempt to breakdown some of the data silos that plague governments around the world through the \u2018Tell Us Once\u2019 style of system and federated identity management framework are all good steps towards digital government maturity by the Australia Government. The challenge now is to deliver against these commitments,\u201d Gartner's Lacheca said.\n\nData analytics drive\n\nThe government will also set up a new body, the Data Integration Partnership of Australia, to \u201ctransform the analysis of public data to improve policy and program implementation and expenditure\u201d.\n\nThe aim is to integrate data from across government and provide a single entry point to \u201creduce duplication, encourage efficiency, and lead to long?term reform in data collection and use\u201d.\n\n\u201cThrough enhanced data analytics, the Government will be able to design better?targeted and more effective services in education, social services, health and aged care,\u201d budget documents state.\n\nThe DTA will continue work to lead whole-of-government IT and the digital transformation of services. The agency\u2019s new Digital Investment Management Office oversees all significant government ICT investment projects, and the Digital Marketplace, is simplifying digital procurement, the government said.\n\nWork on Govpass, which aims to make the process of proving to government services who you are online simpler and more secure, will continue.\n\nICT industry peak body the Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA), welcomed the government\u2019s digital and data focus.\n\n\u201cThe government is taking a lead in Australia\u2019s digital transformation through greater investment in ICT infrastructure and capability. These are smart investments that will enable the adoption of future technologies as government services evolve,\u201d said AIIA chief executive officer Rob Fitzpatrick.\n\nAn AIIA survey published in February suggests the investments have the support of Australians, with 99 per cent saying they believed they would benefit from government using the latest technology for service delivery.\n\n\u201cICT spending should be viewed as an investment towards modernising government and improving services for Australians over the long-term, rather than a one-off line item. The ICT sector welcomes this significant investment,\u201d Fitzpatrick added.