​WA shifts government CIO position to Premier's department

The Office of the Government Chief Information Officer will be shifted into the Department of Premier and Cabinet from July 1.
Written by Asha Barbaschow, Contributor

The government of Western Australia has announced a machinery of government change that will see the recently formed Office of the Government Chief Information Officer (GCIO) function transferred to the Department of Premier and Cabinet.

The change, announced during the 2018-19 state Budget and slated to come into effect on July 1, 2018, is touted by the state as providing a stronger mandate for the government's digital transformation agenda and ensuring that IT performance, data sharing, and cybersecurity are strengthened.

See also: Digital transformation: A CXO's guide (TechRepublic)

Giles Nunis was officially appointed as the first GCIO for WA in October 2015, with the Office of the GCIO only established three months prior under the Department of Finance umbrella.

At the time, former Premier Colin Barnett said Nunis had 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 billion to AU$2 billion on IT and this needs to be strongly managed to ensure we deliver the best value to West Australians," Barnett said at the time.

Nunis was charged with the behemoth IT project known as GovNext-ICT. Worth AU$3 billion over the next 10 years, the government digital transformation project is aimed at allowing the state to concentrate on delivering government services, by handing the IT heavy-lifting elsewhere.

It is expected to save the state AU$60-80 million in IT infrastructure expenditure annually.

Speaking at the CeBit Australia conference in Sydney last year, GCIO CTO Andrew Cann said WA was shaking up the way the state government has operated for years, shifting the model for IT infrastructure to be purely consumption-based.

"We don't want to own any IT infrastructure at all, that's our goal," he said previously.

"We want to decommission our datacentres and server rooms. We've got 50 datacentres and 200 server rooms within government organisations right now. The rest of the world got rid of that years ago."

The Office of the GCIO lost its innovation mandate on July 1, 2017, to the Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation.

The 2018-19 state Budget also touched on cybersecurity.

"With continuing national focus on counter-terrorism, cybersecurity, and emergency management, the [Department of Premier and Cabinet] will continue to provide advice to the Premier on state security and emergency matters and coordinate the state's involvement in national counter-terrorism arrangements," the papers read.


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