The CIO Show: Vertical series – Digitising government in Australia

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Australia's public sector is in the process of a wide-ranging digital transformation which is changing how people, communities and businesses engage with government, while public services of all kinds are being delivered with increased speed and efficiency.  

However, while digital technologies have huge potential to further transform the public service, its size and sprawling bureaucracies create unique challenges for the deployment of large-scale, complex systems.  

Public-sector tech veteran and former CIO with South Australian and Northern Territory governments, Rowan Dollar, says there’s still a long way to go before genuine ‘transformation’ occurs, largely blaming rigid and outdated funding models for stifling innovation and agile practises.  

By contrast, our first state government chief data scientist, Dr Ian Opperman outlines the work he has led over the past five years developing a sophisticated data analytics capability for NSW, in parallel with creating a robust governance framework – including ‘ethical’ AI - that takes account of the unique and evolving risks facing governments today. 

Gartner’s Dean Lacheca reflects on his 10 years as chief digital officer with Workcover Queensland, admitting his experience of driving digital transformation with strong executive support and the right culture was one of few exceptions that prove the rule for most tech leaders working in government today. 

And Jason Hutchinson, Deloitte’s government digital transformation lead stresses that in order for digital technologies to reach their true potential in government, agencies need to do more than just get their own houses in order and foster strong digital relationships across agencies, levels of government and even with the private sector.  

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