Nunis officially appointed as WA's first government CIO

The newly formed Western Australia Office of the Government Chief Information Officer has officially appointed Giles Nunis as its first CIO.
Written by Asha Barbaschow, Contributor

Giles Nunis has been officially appointed as the first Government Chief Information Officer for Western Australia (WA).

The Office of the Government Chief Information Officer (OGCIO) is still in its infancy, having only been established on July 1 this year under the Department of Finance umbrella.

WA Premier Colin Barnett said Nunis has an important role to play in helping to stabilise the government's IT costs, develop a whole-of-government IT strategy, and build the capacity of WA's growing IT sector.

"The government spends AU$1 to AU$2 billion on IT and this needs to be strongly managed to ensure we deliver the best value to West Australians," the premier said. "Nunis has the right combination of professional skills and practical experience, with a fundamental understanding of the private and public sectors and how to negotiate and deliver large IT projects."

Nunis has been acting in the position since April this year; his official appointment sees him exit the role of Deputy Director General, Department of State Development.

Prior to landing his deputy position, Nunis was the managing director at IT consulting firm Ajilon Australia, where he was responsible for managing public sector accounts including the departments of the Attorney General, Planning and Infrastructure, Treasury and Finance, and Police.

Minister for Finance Bill Marmion said Nunis will develop an IT reform plan over 12 months to support this new strategic direction, which is expected to initially focus on cutting the cost of IT across government and enhancing "transparency in the delivery of major projects".

"We are well-positioned to learn from the experience of other states and from overseas, which has shown that the strongest IT reform comes from having a broad approach right across government," Marmion said.

The WA government originally revealed its intention to adopt its first CIO back in March, when Barnett and Marmion announced the new role as part of a reform program aimed at cutting back on the state's IT costs.

In a joint release, Barnett and Marmion said the new state CIO role would guide IT reforms across the state to save money and deliver better services to the community.

"With a spend of at least AU$1 billion a year on IT, there needs to be better coordination, consolidation, and prioritisation of these resources across state government," Barnett said at the time. "The delivery of ICT services in government has not always been as efficient and effective as it might have been."

In early 2016, Nunis is tabled to publish the WA Whole of Government ICT Strategy, which will need to be approved by Cabinet and endorsed by "key" government personnel.

According to the OGCIO, the IT strategy is intended to provide a schedule for the future of the state government, in terms of IT.

"The WA Whole of Government ICT Strategy will identify the information services which should be delivered to meet organisational aims and objectives, and the means or mechanisms whereby these services will be delivered," the OGCIO said in June.

In July, the OGCIO released its whole of government Open Data Policy as a "key reform that promises to drive innovation and to support WA's growing information and communications technology sector".

"I am confident that WA entrepreneurs will use these datasets to create new products, services and business opportunities, and we welcome public input about data access priorities," Barnett said.

"There are already good examples of the benefits of using WA data, including the development of a new tracking device that had its origins in Landgate (the state's official register of land ownership) and Department of Mines and Petroleum information; the Open Data Policy will also allow agencies to work better together and reduce duplication."

Marmion was previously the state's Mines and Petroleum Minister and in February he praised the Department of Mines and Petroleum (DMP) for its efforts in introducing an online system aimed at putting an end to a practice that sees some companies using software to "scrape" data from the department's online systems.

"A number of prospectors expressed concern over the prevalence of large companies using special software to crunch DMP online systems, in a bid to gain an advantage in securing surrendered tenements," Marmion said at the time. "This 'data mining' had become so intense, it was disrupting the department's online systems."

Earlier this year the state government announced that it was entering the 2015-2016 financial year with a AU$2.7 billion deficit, with this year's budget making mention of the government's plans to reduce its IT spending across multiple departments.

In July, the Public Transport Authority of Western Australia put out a formal call to internet service providers (ISPs) to supply Wi-Fi internet access on its buses, trains, and stations.

"We live in a highly connected community. We use online services to shop, bank and chat with our friends and families," Transport Minister Dean Nalder said.

"Governments need to respond to the community's preference for greater flexibility, quick access to information, and easier transactions. This is part of our strategy to deliver provide a better customer service for passengers."

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