Queensland urged to embrace digital transformation

| December 17, 2017

The Australian Information Industry Association, the peak member body for the ICT industry, has congratulated Premier Palaszczuk on Labor’s victory in the recent state election and urged her to lead the state in embracing a digital approach.

Rob Fitzpatrick, AIIA’s CEO, asks Palaszczuk to use her new mandate to accelerate Queensland’s long promised, but poorly delivered, digital transformation. Despite bipartisan agreement to modernise a range of government processes by adopting a ‘digital’ approach, Queensland government agencies remain hamstrung by legacy technology systems and business processes.

“Investment is limited, and a sense of urgency is required to ‘step up’ to leverage modern technology platforms such as cloud and more agile approaches. More funding is needed to update government services to ensure Queensland isn’t left behind States like NSW and Victoria. These solutions need to extend to and build capability in regional areas,” argued Fitzpatrick in a statement to government.

The AIIA asks Queensland’s state government to prioritise three key areas to reduce costs and increase efficiency.

• The digital transformation of Government.
• The development of the state’s digital talent and skills base
• The strengthening of Queensland’s innovation and commercialisation capacity.

Digital transformation of Government

40% of the 811 million transactions conducted by Australia’s federal and state governments each year are still completed through traditional channels. The AIIA believes that state governments should become an exemplar of digital transformation, given their position as the country’s largest purchaser of ICT services, and that Queensland is well placed to lead the way.

“This past election itself has been a perfect example. With electronic voting in place, the outcome of the election would have been known sooner and the electoral process would cost fewer taxpayer dollars to run in the long term,” said Mr Fitzpatrick.

Queensland’s state government could accelerate its digital transformation by:

• Driving implementation of the current digital transformation strategy as a top priority.

• Increasing investment to update state government’s digital infrastructure, systems and processes.

• Mandating consistent data availability and access policies for both state and local Queensland administrations.

Developing Queensland’s digital skills

The Foundation for Young Australians estimates that 90% of Australia’s workforce will need some level of digital literacy in the next two to five years, and that these technical abilities must be combined with broader enterprise skills to ensure economic growth is maximised.

To build the world-class, data-driven workforce which Queensland needs for the future, the AIIA asks the Palaszczuk Government to:

• Undertake an audit of Queensland’s skills base to highlight potential gaps and areas requiring development to ensure young workers are equipped for tomorrow’s work environment.

• Work with industry to implement an employment-based higher apprenticeship scheme to specifically address shortfalls in ICT and digital technology skills.

• Impress on all levels of education that digital literacy is as crucial to a young person’s employment prospects as numeracy and literacy. This message should be underlined through expanded digital training for current government staff.

Boosting Queensland innovation

The number of Queenslanders in full-time employment is declining while the cost of its ageing population is c0ntinues to rise. Queensland’s social sustainability, as well as its economic growth and national and international competitiveness, therefore hinge on its ability to innovate.

The government should therefore build a more business friendly environment in general, as well as drive specific digital reform.  An attractive and effective business ecosystem will encourage businesses to remain and grow in the state and develop their export capability. The AIIA therefore asks the new administration to:

• Nurture a supportive innovation culture that is more tolerant of business risk. The Office of the Queensland Chief Entrepreneur could be funded to offer support and advice to the state’s businesses to share best practise and increase resilience as well as promote success.

• Agree to a strategic, bipartisan approach to the state’s innovation culture and entrepreneurial skills. This should include building partnerships with industry, small businesses, startups and research organisations as well as offering more stable and predictable support policy and funding opportunities.

• Support existing programmes, such as the Advance Queensland Industry Attraction Fund and Business Development Fund. The government should investigate innovative funding platforms such as crowdfunding and microfinance, in addition to current federal programmes, to open up wider funding options for small and mid-sized companies.