Nairn looks to private sector for e-gov action

Government looks to private enterprise for implemenation of report
Written by Simon Grose, Contributor
The Special Minister of State, Gary Nairn, has acknowledged that the e-government strategy released last week is a "bold plan", and encouraged private sector providers to come forward with skills or products to enable it to be implemented.

According to the strategy, Responsive Government - A New Service Agenda, by 2008-2010 citizens will have fully functional personalised accounts with government, via a single sign-on facility in most cases.

Gary Nairn, Special Minister of State

It also envisages that the public sector will have addressed all gaps in capability by 2010 when connected government will be fully established and a "virtuous circle" will exist between capability and implementation of the strategy.

"The e-government strategy is ambitious and I'm not too concerned about that," Nairn told the Government Technology World conference in Canberra today.

"It would be easy to play safe, but if we did that we would never benefit to the extent that we have benefited from technology advances, so it is quite deliberately 'out there'.

"It is important for the government to take stock of where we are now, imagine what is possible and put the energies of agencies and industry to work on bold plans such as this."

Nairn said that by outlining the government's long-term priorities for online service delivery the strategy presents a real opportunity for industry to interact with government through the Australian Government Information Management Office.

He invited industry to become more actively involved in the design of products and services to meet the needs of government in implementing the strategy.

"Instead of industry selling its services and products to government after its products are developed, industry will now be able to better understand the needs of government in the longer term," he said.

"If industry has expertise in these areas, I encourage you to make yourself known to AGIMO and to participate in the consultation processes as AGIMO and agencies implement the strategy."

Particular areas of interest highlighted by the minister included service oriented architecture, identity management, single sign-on and user account products and smart card technologies.

Nairn, a surveyor before entering parliament in 1996, said he wanted to see an increased integration of spatial data held by all three levels of government with public sector service delivery.

"Adding location data to the huge amount of data that government has can really enhance the analysis to far better target services," he said.

"I will be pushing that along over the next couple of years."

He said that the take-up of online government services was accelerating, with Centrelink recording 8.3 million online interactions with clients in 2004-05, up from 3.8 million in 2003-04, and upwards of 80 per cent of tax returns were now being lodged electronically.

"The shift is happening and it will continue to happen at a great rate," Nairn said.

"The challenge to government is to ensure we have the systems in place to allow it to happen efficiently."

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