ACT budget commits AU$57.3m over four years to IT

In its 2015 budget, the Australian Capital Territory government has allocated AU$21.5 million to information technology; with spending focused on cloud management systems and software upgrades.

The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) government revealed on Tuesday that they intend to spend AU$57.3 million on information and communication technology (ICT) over the next four years; with AU$21.5 million to be spent over the upcoming financial year.

In his first budget as both ACT treasurer and chief minister, Andrew Barr is adamant that "this is a budget for Canberra".

The government started the financial year with a deficit of AU$597 million -- the additional AU$264.2 million from last year attributed to a combination of external factors.

In Budget papers, the government published the state was at a AU$370 million net loss. This was the result of the Commonwealth declining to honour an earlier agreement to assist with the cost of the asbestos eradication scheme. The ACT government also attributed a loss of AU$137 million as a result of cutting the Territory's share of the GST, and further reductions in federal funding for health as the reasons why the ACT is left facing one of the most difficult financial landscapes in their short history.

Across the territory, the government anticipate a spend of approximately AU$13 million over the next 12 months on infrastructure modernisation; upgrading its own operating systems, providing support for a range of hardware and cloud based services, and transitioning applications and services online.

Among the digital services to receive funding, the ACT government will spend AU$5.3 million this financial year on a new software solution to replace the current budget development application that is used to manage the territory's budget. An additional AU$413,000 will be injected into a "feasibility study" to identify the most appropriate method of procuring equipment and services for the government's IT network.

Under the community services directorate, AU$2.8 million over the next two years will be invested into the child and youth protection services by way of a new integrated client management cloud system. Meanwhile, the ACT corrective services will receive more than AU$3 million over the next three years to procure and implement a new information management system to improve offender and detainee management and reporting.

The emergency services agency will receive AU$3.3 million this year to continue the improvement of their territory radio network by way of upgrading tower infrastructure, radio and terminal equipment, and the emergency turnout system.

The residual funds will go to supporting government schools, with AU$5.3 million to be invested into modern and reliable infrastructure such as high speed wireless internet access to support the provision of contemporary learning and teaching.

In last year's budget, the Treasury handed out almost AU$85 million to digital technology, with the papers specifying that over the next four years the investment in new transformation ICT projects will be AU$75 million.

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