Australian government sets up email address for confidential IT complaints

The IT industry can confidentially email the government about its grievances.

The Australian federal government has announced setting up a complaints line for the IT industry in the form of an email address, which it said it will closely monitor.

Assistant Minister for Cities and Digital Transformation Angus Taylor on Friday said the IT industry can confidentially air its grievances by sending emails to confidentialprocurement@dta.gov.au.

"An email mailbox will be made public for industry to confidentially contact me about the real barriers they face," the minister said at an Australian Information Industry Association event on Friday. "I promise to review this and, for those issues that aren't just competitor gripes, to aggressively seek solutions.

"I know this may seem like a small thing, but I think if the industry uses it well, it can be incredibly powerful."

In explaining the rationale for setting up the new email, Taylor said that "a focus on engagement" has become central to the nation's Digital Transformation Agency (DTA), attributing the DTA's achievements this year to partnerships.

"We are constantly engaging in government and always looking for a solution that will deliver benefits more quickly and effectively," he said.

Taylor acknowledged, however, that engagement with government departments and agencies is "only half the picture", further noting the importance of working in partnership with industry.

"I can't tell you how many insights I have taken from industry back to government. Because I mean it when I say we have to be porous and I have made it my goal to lead by example," he said.

The digital transformation minister additionally said the government will take its time to get its digital identity solution, called Govpass, right, rather than rush the development and rollout.

"It's no secret that I have made it one of my highest priorities to get digital identity right. Now importantly -- I said 'right'," Taylor said on Friday. "If we had rushed this, I think we would have inhibited digital take-up for years to come.

"And in my opinion, a federated, enabling view of identity is the right view and that is what we are delivering."

Taylor said the DTA has made "great strides in digital identity" with its partners.

Earlier this week, it was announced that Vault Systems' cloud-based platform had been selected to host Govpass.

The DTA had outlined the process for applying for a Govpass last month, with the system expected to match a user's photograph, as well as their Medicare, driver's licence, and birth certificate details, with information already held by various government entities.

Vault Systems is one of three companies to meet the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) requirements for protected-level ASD Certification, allowing the company, alongside Sliced Tech and Macquarie Government, to store highly classified government information in their respective cloud platforms.

While Vault Systems received the certification for its government cloud offering, its infrastructure-as-a-service offering is also certified for unclassified DLM use.

The tick from the ASD enables Vault Systems to host the government's digital identity platform.

"Privacy and protection of personal information is at the heart of the DTA's work on digital identity. Building trust in how the government stores personal data is not something we compromise on," DTA CEO Gavin Slater said earlier this week.

"Vault's open standards cloud has been the perfect solution for Govpass, providing a level of security and sovereignty that is a critical to making the process of proving who you are to government simple, safe, and secure."

DTA CDO Peter Alexander revealed in October that there were three providers that would be charged with the responsibility of Govpass in the first instance: The Australian Taxation Office, the Department of Human Services, and Australia Post.

"They hold a lot of identity data already," Alexander said at the time. "It could easily be extended to jurisdictional providers and commercial providers, who are talking to banks, the Australian payment network, and others who can provide identity."

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