by George Nott

Budget 2018: Millions for IT upgrades at Dutton’s ‘super ministry’

May 09, 2018
Digital TransformationGovernmentManaged IT Services

Peter Dutton’s controversial Department of Home Affairs, which was established in December, is set to receive $130 million, including $94 million in capital funding to improve its IT capability.

The cash injection for the department – which has been criticised for concentrating too much power into one portfolio – will be used to “upgrade the capacity and performance of the Department’s connected information environment” the government said in Budget documents.

The money will also be used to establish a platform for the department’s “enterprise identity management system” and boost its analytics and threat management capabilities.

The Department which covers immigration, border protection and domestic security and law enforcement agencies, has been dubbed a ‘super ministry’ bringing intelligence and counter-terrorism into the responsibility of a single minister for the first time.

The department has already suffered from leaks, with documents released to media hinting at plans to allow Australian Signals Directorate personnel to “proactively disrupt and covertly remove” onshore cyber threats by “hacking into critical infrastructure”.

The government outlined its intention to provide an additional $111.9 million over four years from 2018-19 to “continue to transform and improve veterans’ services.

The measures include improving access to veterans’ services by enhancing the Department of Veterans’ Affairs’ ICT systems, which support veterans’ income support payments and claims.

A little over $10 million over three years from 2018-19 will be delivered to the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) to support its IT systems and digitise its “most important and frequently used” paper files.

The funding will assist the APVMA to become a more efficient and effective regulator, the government said, as it relocates to former Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce’s electorate as part of the Government’s Decentralisation Agenda.

Other IT funding announced in last night’s Budget includes $30.0 million to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare to improve accessibility to health information and statistics, including better data sharing capability and ICT upgrades.

The budget also allocates $59.1 million over four years from 2018-19 to enable the joint federal and state initiative to build a National Criminal Intelligence System (NCIS).

“The NCIS will provide a national, unified picture of criminal activity to better enable law enforcement and intelligence agencies to combat criminal and national security threats,” the government said.