Department of Education sites go offline over weekend without warning

The department did not alert users that planned maintenance would take its websites offline.

As the Australian government enters its last week in caretaker mode before a federal election on Saturday, two departments have issued statements following outages that saw the websites under the care of one down for nearly the entire weekend.

The affected websites were those under the Department of Jobs and Small Business and the Department of Education, such as the Fair Work Ombudsman, Training.gov.au, Myskills, Job Search, Australian Apprenticeships, and the Australian government's Unique Student Identifier (USI).

Under a shared service arrangement, the Department of Education and Training receives IT infrastructure services from the Department of Jobs and Small Business.

"Over the weekend the Department of Jobs and Small Business undertook essential maintenance of core IT infrastructure which impacted the availability of our websites," an Education spokesperson told ZDNet.

While Jobs and Small Business alerted users to the maintenance, Education did not.

According to both departments, the maintenance commenced at 8pm AEST Friday May 10. Jobs and Small Business said the maintenance had ended at midnight on Sunday May 12, while Education said its websites were available at 7:25pm AEST Saturday May 11.

A spokesperson for Jobs and Small Business told ZDNet the planned maintenance impacted the availability of its websites and the availability of some was pushed past the midnight cut off, with some still experiencing intermittent issues on Monday.

"The department's jobs.gov.au website was back online from 7:25 pm on the Saturday night. The jobactive.gov.au website was back online from 3 pm Sunday 12 May. Some job seekers may be experiencing intermittent issues with the jobactive website when logging in," they said.

According to Jobs and Small Business, the maintenance was advertised on the jobactive website and on mobile apps in the week leading up to the planned outage, including specific advice about the period of the outage and the action job seekers should take during the outage period.

"In addition, providers received comprehensive information and instructions well in advance of the planned outage to ensure that no job seeker was impacted by the IT system outage over the weekend. This included bulletins, inter-agency advice, and notices," the spokesperson said.

The Education spokesperson meanwhile apologised for causing inconvenience to users.

"The department did not provide notification of the maintenance period, and apologises for any inconvenience this caused," they said.

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