Industry backs SA's digital by default plan

South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill's declaration for the state to be 'digital by default' has met with a thumbs-up from the nation's IT and telecommunications industry body the AIIA.

South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill has declared that the state's services will be "digital by default", as his government works to implement the strategic plan laid out in its SA Connected IT strategy document (PDF) in November last year.

"I am pleased, this evening, to announce the Digital by Default Declaration for South Australia," said Weatherill at the Australian Information Industry Association's (AIIA) "South Australia: Our future economic prosperity" event in Adelaide on November 11.

"This declaration commits the government to proactively transforming its services, using digital technology," said Weatherill. "Government services will be digital by default. They will be designed so that people in the community will be able to access and use the services more easily.

"South Australians should be able to access these government services when and where they want. We will work with the AIIA to deliver a 'Digital Landscape' report by the end of March 2015, to identify the capacity and capability of South Australia to help transform government services.

"We will create a digital report card available to you so you can judge our progress," he said.

The Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) has backed Weatherill's renewed commitment to the "digital by default" plan, which is aimed at seeing existing and new government services go online as a matter of course.

The state government's IT plan was drawn up after the call for public feedback on the first draft of the strategy in March last year.

"The Premier's public recognition of the integral role ICT plays in the economy is a clear signal that the South Australian government acutely understands the importance of digital technology in driving its future prosperity, and that of its citizens," said AIIA CEO Suzanne Campbell.

"Working with the government, the Digital Landscape Report will identify the capacity and capability required to transform government services in South Australia," said Campbell. "Like the Premier, AIIA is committed to how technology is applied to deliver exemplar services to citizens.

"The fact that the government is also committing to a digital report card, so that the community can judge the progress and performance of the digital by default declaration, demonstrates a refreshing transparency and determination to be accountable for its promises to be a better, smarter government — and state.

"Such a public report card is a first in Australia, and an initiative AIIA would encourage the commonwealth and other state governments to have the conviction to adopt," she said.

The announcement comes as the state government moves to back a new AU$92 million data analytics centre in Adelaide.

On November 10, the South Australian Minister for Defence Industries Martin Hamilton-Smith said that the state government would contribute AU$600,000 over three years to the establishment of the Cooperative Research Centre at Adelaide's Technology Park through the Premier's Research and Industry Fund.

Hamilton-Smith said the facility will investigate big data issues for government defence and national security agencies over the next five years.

"The centre strengthens South Australia's position as a national hub for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, establishing us as a significant international big data player," he said. "It will play a critical role in helping national security agencies develop capabilities to address online terrorism and crime, by making critical decisions faster and more accurately.

"By processing and refining the world's data to extract useful intelligence, the centre will help find needles in a rapidly growing data haystack. The centre will bring together Australia's best research organisations, as well as the skills and capabilities of industry participants," he said.

The centre is expected to employ around 40 full-time staff members over five years, support 48 PhD students, and produce more than 1,000 data scientists.

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