Digital WA: Government unveils strategy for improved online services, but no word on cost

Bill Marmion revealing the Digital WA strategy on Wednesday.
Bill Marmion revealing the Digital WA strategy on Wednesday.

WA’s first information and communications strategy will aim to create a more centralised, cloud-based platform for the delivery of government services at a lower cost to taxpayers.

Speaking at the launch of ‘Digital WA’ on Wednesday afternoon, Minister for Innovation Bill Marmion said one of the scheme’s targets was to have 75 per cent of government related transactions completed online by 2020.

The scheme would also include the creation of a State Government web portal.

“The targets and KPIs in the strategy are ambitious, but they reflect the Government’s strong commitment to delivering enhanced digital services to West Australians,” Mr Marmion said.

“From simply paying bills online to obtaining the latest information and data on everything Government that matters to you, that is the Digital WA promise once fully implemented.”

Details on the cost of implementing the scheme were sketchy.

There was no mention of a figure, but much made of the savings expected to be recouped from the Government’s $1-2 billion annual information and communications technology (ICT) spend.

When pressed on exactly how much WA spends on ICT each year, Government Chief Information Officer Giles Nunis said he would suggest the amount was somewhere between $1-1.5 billion.

“The costing aspect is a framework that says this is the road we want to go down,” Mr Nunis said.

“Each of the departments are in a wide variety of different types of vehicles. Some are in sports cars and some are in big buses.

“It takes a bit of time to go down that particular path.

“What we don’t want them to do is deviate off to somewhere else that is against the particular policy, because we believe this will achieve benefits not only in terms of improved service delivery to the community, but also at lower cost.

“We’re hopeful that the costs will actually come down rather than the cost to go up.

“The costs should go down quite significantly.”