Contributing Opinions on the 2015 Budget


Ovum Logo SmlPlease find the following contributing opinions following the 2015 Budget

Ovum had this to say: Following the hefty cuts to public service numbers in 2014, government staff headcount remains largely comparable to previous years. Headcount is an important indicator for IT activity as it is the primary driver for Laptops, desktop support and personal productivity tools. For vendors of such tools, 2015 should be a much more predictable year.

However, strong market opportunities will create some big headaches in meeting skills requirements. The Federal Government is a big market. Any sudden movements in that market can create consequential challenges in other sectors. This would be a very opportune time to lock in contractors and permanent staff, before they start to pack their bags for growing job markets in Canberra.

After years of funding neglect, the government has moved to tackle some of the big problem areas. These include:

  • $60.5 million to commence work on the welfare system replacement for Human Services. This is a massive task, replacing a 30 year old system still running on Model 204
  • $234.7 million for business transformation at the Australian Bureau of Statistics. ABS had previously indicated that without a significant cash injection major statistical research work, including the coming national census, would have to be abandoned.
  • $485.1 million to fix the troubled health electronic record system (PCEHR) with the renamed system MyHealth
  • $295.8 million to strengthen national security capabilities for ASIS
  • $164.8 million to strengthen and enhance the government’s border protection services
  • $10 million to develop in house analytical, economics and research capabilities for Health

There is no shortage of new money earmarked for IT policy initiatives. In past Budgets, it was necessary to scrape hard to find even the smallest scraps of IT activity. In 2015, the story is very different, with IT carrying some big-ticket items:

  • $254.7 million to commence the government’s Digital transformation. Stage 1 initiatives include:
    • $106.8 million for streamlining government grants administration
    • $33.3 million for the development of a trusted digital identity framework
    • $11.5 million for the enhancement of the “tell us once” service
    • $7.1 million for the development of a whole-of-government digital mailbox solution
    • development of a mandatory digital service standard, with costs to be met from within DTO core funding
    • $153.8 million to defray the cost of additional data retention requirements. An additional $1.7 million has been provided for oversight by the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner
    • $143 million for systems to support the National Disability Insurance Scheme
    • $130.9 million to enable the Tax Office to upgrade MyTax to cater for more complex tax returns
    • $33.7 million for a national gateway for career support
    • $32.4 million for streamlining business registration
    • $17.6 million for a new datacentre for the Australian Federal Police
    • $12.9 million for IT security enhancement for politicians
    • $12.2 million for a health organ matching system
    • $7.8 million to extend a trial for in-home telehealth for veterans
    • $7.8 million for crowd-sourced equity funding for public companies
    • $3.7 million to extend the trial for in-home telehealth for veterans

Bulletproof LogoMeanwhile Bulletproof Group Director of Sales and Marketing, Mark Randall said “While there are some good individual initiatives such as the $254m investment in Digital Transformation, there seems to be a lack of joined up thinking in the budget this year. For example, the Department of Finance is assigned with squeezing savings from IT, but they’re spending $17.6m on a new AFP Data Centre (instead of using Cloud with proven cost savings).  On the other hand it is great to see that Employee share options will no longer be taxable upfront, bringing Australia in line with other OECD nations.”

He added “Startups often rely on share options to attract staff. Establishing a crowd sourced equity funding framework will also be a great help to them. Together these initiatives will be a significant boost for the next generation of market disruptors and Digital leadership. While there could arguably be some negativity around the cuts to the Entrepreneurs Infrastructure Program, the effect of the other measures in stimulating private sector activity will significantly offset this reduction. When the other tax changes for SMEs are considered this budget is definitely a positive one for supporting startups, entrepreneurs, and the small business sector.”


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