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Science and Technology – ICT Strategy

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Tuesday, 24 November 2020

Tags: Public Service

Ms O'CONNOR - Thank you and I understand, minister, we're talking about the whole-of-government ICT strategy. The Auditor-General stated -

There's no evidence that the current whole-of-government function currently delivered through Digital Strategy Services at DPAC has the appropriate mandate and resourcing to be able to support the delivery of a whole-of-government ICT vision if one was developed.

This is a fundamental structural problem identified by the Auditor-General. What are you going to do to ensure this work progresses and the Our Digital Future Strategy doesn't become another plan to nowhere without meaningful funding and resourcing attached?

Mr FERGUSON - We took a different view to the Auditor General and we do so with great respect. Some of which in his findings the agencies and being led by DEPAC and I note would advise you to have a look at the Auditor General's report. He has very fairly allowed a response from Jenny Gale on behalf of all the agency secretary's that were written to and each of them were given a separate opportunity to provide their own response. It was agreed between them one response would be sufficient. There have definitely been some differences of opinion expressed in that response. Having said that, everybody involved is professional, respectful and taking on board that some of those recommendations can and should be responded to.

The Government's view acknowledged in the report's summary of findings is that a Digital Transformation Strategy was a necessary precursor to setting ICT strategy to action and our digital future sets that broader strategic context. Ms Gale made the very strong point you must have your digital vision settled before you can move to an ICT vision. There is also a language issue here because we set out vey clearly in Our Digital Future plan a technology roadmap which, Glen, it is fair to say, is just a different way of expressing the same thing ICT vision.

We can bridge some of these differences of opinion in a quite professional way and recognising those different terms perhaps mean the same thing and are intended to mean the same thing. I will invite Dr Lewis to add to that. I would like to give it a proper answer in regards to responding to the whole of government policies we are adopting so it is contemporary and fit for purpose for our own needs and public facing services.

Ms O'CONNOR - Just in doing that, perhaps address, the minister has said he does not agree with the Auditor General so it is interesting the Government cherry picks which Auditor General's advice it wants to listen to.

Mr FERGUSON - Professionals can disagree.

Ms O'CONNOR - Yes, unless that backs in your EOI process. Perhaps those areas of the Auditor General's report the Government does not agree with might be more of an issue for you minister.

Mr FERGUSON - I act on the advice of professional people in the Department of Premier and Cabinet. In this case, we did not want to be seen to dissent from the Audit Office's report. We take it on board and welcome their feedback. I have welcomed the report because as I have been very clear on the road's program, when the Auditor General gave a very positive report, but nonetheless provided some suggestions for improvement of roads management in Tasmania which we took on board. Same here and on advice of the Secretary of Department of Premier and Cabinet we believe there are some areas where we can afford to have a slightly different view. I am expressing that very respectfully because I respect that office. I would like to hear from you again.

Mr LEWIS - In terms of the Auditor General's recommendations, the point the minister has made is the digital's future strategy does include a technology roadmap. That roadmap aligns with the Auditor General's recommendations to have an ICT division, roadmap or strategy. That is definitely one of the things we are working on and intend to consult on that roadmap or vision early next year. That is aligning with the Auditor General's recommendations 1 and 2 which is about division and strategy. The recommendations around the governance is already built into the terms of reference of our governance boards. That action is underway with the digital service board and the underlying committees and also aligns with the Auditor General's recommendations,

The ICT asset management recommendation of the Auditor General will be considered by agencies to align with the vision and the road map. The final one is Treasury to review the certification process, which they have agreed to do. The critical asset registered agencies are ready to do that. From that you can see we actually align with the recommendations of the Auditor General.