On paper, it’s a breakout year for digital and technology in Queensland.
Here’s our summary of the article:
In Queensland, there has been a significant shift in the digital landscape. Digital services responsibility has moved from the Communities, Housing, and Digital Economy portfolio to the Transport and Main Roads (TMR) portfolio through a government reorganization. Additionally, the state has unveiled a new three-year digital economy strategy with a $200 million budget. This comprehensive strategy encompasses digital inclusion, cybersecurity, and First Nations digital planning, focusing on six key priorities.
The overarching strategy aims to bridge the digital divide, provide modern digital services, enhance connectivity in regional areas, support industries and businesses with digital tools, nurture digital talent, and enable a more digitally-advanced government. However, it’s crucial to note that this strategy does not cover all aspects of Queensland’s digital initiatives.
The Customer and Digital Group, led by Chris McLaren, consists of around 1900 experts responsible for various digital domains, including architecture, ICT investment, governance, data analytics, AI, cybersecurity, and infrastructure. Each government department in Queensland has its own Chief Information Officer (CIO) or digital leader, along with an ICT strategic plan. The Customer and Digital Group collaborates with these leaders in four primary ways: as a supplier of shared services, as custodians of technology policies, for assurance and review mechanisms, and to facilitate whole-of-government technology investments.
The Queensland government aims to centralize its technology procurement to “buy once, use many” and is initially targeting software needs in areas like finance, HR, payroll, case management, workplace health and safety, and service directory. This approach seeks to reduce redundancy and improve efficiency across government agencies.
Under McLaren’s leadership, the state has identified areas of digital excellence, including the development of an ISO-compliant digital driver license and a customer digital services platform. Queensland’s whole-of-government cyber security center, secure internet gateway services, and critical digital infrastructure have also earned praise. The government is dedicated to innovative digital solutions, such as biometric reporting kiosks for low-risk offenders.
Queensland is also embracing generative AI through the creation of ‘QChat,’ a safe space for experimentation based on Azure OpenAI technology. A thriving AI community of practice is emerging within the government, engaging in better service delivery and policy development.
The state is spearheading a transformative initiative for digital inclusion in First Nations communities. Through a unique public-private partnership, a three-year pilot project aims to establish call centers and digital service centers in these communities. Local individuals receive training and work at these centers, providing digital services for private and government sectors. This model exhibits the power of digital technology in enhancing economic development and opportunity in disadvantaged communities, setting a precedent for other jurisdictions.
In summary, Queensland is making significant strides in digital transformation, with a comprehensive strategy, strong government digital leadership, and a commitment to innovation and inclusion, while also fostering experimentation in generative AI and addressing the needs of marginalized communities.