Tasmania to pump AU$135.4 million into making government services digital

2020-21 state Budget also finds cash to stand up a government-wide cybersecurity program.

The Tasmanian government has announced a AU$135.4 million, multi-year investment in technology to support service delivery.

"When it comes to our ICT infrastructure, for too long have we have been expecting 21st Century services from 20th Century technology," state Treasurer Peter Gutwein said on Thursday.

"This Budget sets it right with AU$135.4 million in ICT investment to support better government services."

The kitty includes AU$57 million for the state's whole-of-government Digital Transformation Expenditure Program; AU$46.1 million for the Department of Police, Fire and Emergency Management's Project Unify to upgrade ageing IT systems that support policing operations; AU$21.6 million for a new Human Resources Information System in the Department of Health; AU$4 million for critical IT network upgrades in TasTAFE; and AU$3.2 million over four years for the Student Systems Renewal, including a case management system, in the Department of Education.

In 2020-21, total IT infrastructure is budgeted to be AU$26.5 million.

Major infrastructure projects include AU$12.6 million of the Digital Transformation Priority Expenditure Program; AU$8.3 million in IT infrastructure spend for Project Unify, which is given a total of AU$46.1 million to upgrade Tasmania Police IT systems; and the Department of Health Human Resources Information System is getting AU$2.1 million.

In addition to the infrastructure investment funding, the government will also invest AU$12.3 million in 2020-21 towards the Tasmanian government Radio Network Project.

"This project will lead to significant improvements in the communication capacity of emergency and other user organisations," the Budget document [PDF] said. "The Budget and forward estimates confirms the provision of AU$121 million over four years for the new network that will initially be used by eight organisations allowing them to better serve the Tasmanian community."

Elsewhere, the 2020-21 Budget provides funding of AU$4.9 million over four years for the whole-of-government Cyber Security Program, which Minister for Science and Technology Michael Ferguson said demonstrates the state's commitment to cybersecurity and would ensure the resilience of government services in the face of increasing cyber threats.

"The expanded program aims to reduce the impact of malicious actors and aid rapid remediation by detecting vulnerabilities in Tasmanian government services at the earliest opportunity, further integrating our incident response capacity with national arrangements," Ferguson said in a statement.

He said it would also supplement and assist government departments to train staff to better recognise threats, as well as upskill cybersecurity professionals across government.

"The Tasmanian government has acted promptly to boost our capacity by recruiting additional experts to the whole-of-government cybersecurity team," he said, noting job advertisements would be published this coming weekend.

He also said the government-wide cybersecurity initiative would create opportunities for local businesses to provide related services to government.

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