Australiia gets a data and digital government strategy, the online services industry codes come into force, Services Australia blows $52 million but gets a new boss, the treasurer drops the mini-budget, and more.
Here’s what I’ve noticed since the previous edition on 8 December.
- The Treasurer released the 2023-24 Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO). You can read his press release for the spin.
- Australian government spent $52m more on welfare calculator after finding a more effective alternative, reports the Guardian. “Services Australia paid Infosys almost $200m over four years before technology was written off as a failure.”
- Australia now has a Data and Digital Government Strategy stretching out to 2023. Or as Julian Bajkowski puts it at The Mandarin, we have a plan to have a plan. Perhaps Services Australia needed one of these. I might take a look at this next week.
- Digital reformer picked as new Services Australia chief.
- Starting tomorrow, Australia’s eSafety industry codes and standards come into force, at least the bits relating to class 1A and class 1B material — that’s basically the sexual abuse of children or acts of terrorism — for “social media services, internet carriage services (also known as internet service providers), equipment providers, app distribution services, and hosting services”. There’s a complaints form.
- On the other hand, Proton Mail founder vows to fight Australia’s eSafety regulator in court rather than spy on users.
- Please be having the Independent National Security Legislation Monitor Annual Report 2022-2023.
- Productivity Commissioner Stephen King warned against over-regulating AI, because of course he did.
- “The government has offered ‘in-principle’ backing for new laws to cover some operational aspects of digital platforms but says it will tread carefully in drafting them,” reports iTnews.
- Albanese’s high-speed rail body yet to appoint CEO or begin planning any train projects, but then that’s not what it’s for. Its purpose is to be a line item in an election campaign that’s now well and truly in the past.
- ‘Rise in conspiracy theories’: Labor was warned disinformation bill would stir claims of censorship.
- And finally, an interesting appointment. As The Mandarin puts it, “Globe-trotting public sector digital reformer Pia Andrews has been enticed back into the Australian Public Service after a year-long stint as an adviser to global cloud platform Amazon Web Services, and has taken up the post of chief data officer at the Department of Home Affairs’ Data and Economic Analysis Centre (DEAC).”
Please let me know if I’ve missed anything, or if there’s any specific items you’d like me to follow.
I’m posting this at 3.20pm AEDT on Friday. If anything drops later today I’ll add it here on Saturday morning.
Parliament is currently on summer break and is due to return on Tuesday 6 February 2024. I’ll do one more of these this year, next Friday 22 December, and then take a break until Friday 12 February 2024 — unless something dramatic happens.
[Photo: Australia’s treasurer Jim Chalmers.]