Which government departments do you need to notify when you move house?
To start with, there's the local council for your rates notices, whoever your car is registered with, Centrelink for Medicare purposes and probably the Tax Office.
But imagine if you only had to notify one body and the details simply registered into every other department and layer of government without you needing to do anything else?
A new report, Introducing integrated e-government in Australia, launched by ACS and the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) in Brisbane on Friday outlines how Australia can achieve integrated e-goverment.
The report – authored by Dr Arvo Ott, Executive Director of the e-Governance Academy; Fergus Hanson, Head of International Cyber Policy Centre; and Jelizaveta Krenjova, Project Manager at the Estonian e-Governance Academy Foundation – provides recommendations on how Australia can succeed in the “journey to become an e-government leader”.
"The Australian Government should launch a consultation with the states and local governments to develop an integrated approach to e-government that joins up all services from all three tiers of government," they stated.
"The model will need to be customised to Australia’s unique circumstances but should be designed to reduce business transaction costs, allow citizens to engage seamlessly with the federal, state and local governments and prioritise citizens’ control and ownership of their data."
At the core of this model is the need for evey citizen to have an electronic ID (eID).
L to R: Head of the International Cyber Policy Centre, Fergus Hanson; Shadow Minister for Employment Services, Workforce Participation and Future of Work, Terri Butler; and ACS CEO, Andrew Johnson.
"It serves two main functions: proving one's identity in the virtual space and verifying virtual transactions," the report states.
“One (eID) has already been developed by Australia Post, and a second is being built, but significant work is needed to allow eID to take root,” it continues.
$92.4 million in funding was secured in the 2018-19 federal budget to create the infrastructure that will underpin an eID, with plans to begin a pilot by June 2019.
The launch of the report comes just days after the Federal government announced plans to have all government services online by 2025.
ACS President Yohan Ramasundara highlighted the value of e-governance.
“An integrated Australian e-government would mean reduced transaction costs and the opportunity to save time for businesses and citizens through seamless engagement with all levels of government,” Ramasundara said.
“The ease with which citizens can access government services also contributes to increased transparency, engagement and ultimately increased trust in government.
“We can learn lessons from countries like Estonia and Denmark, where e-government is a national priority and efficiencies gained have lifted their annual GDP.”
An ‘integrated approach’ to e-government requires consultation across all three levels of government, as well as with business and the public, the report suggests.
Decentralisation is critical to this, as it can facilitate interoperability between government agencies and as a centralised depository would create security issues.
“The e-government model will need to be customised to Australia’s unique circumstances but should be designed to reduce business transaction costs, allow citizens to engage seamlessly with the federal, state and local governments and prioritise citizens’ control and ownership of their data.
“It should allow different government departments to communicate seamlessly,” said Hanson.
The report cites Deloitte Access Economics estimates that lifting the share of digital government transactions from 60% to 80% over a 10-year period would lead to government productivity benefits worth $17.9 billion plus a further $8.7 billion in benefits to citizens.
Uptake of e-governance strategies will also have “flow-on effects across the economy”, according to the report, with the further adoption of digital technologies expected to deliver $66 billion to Australia’s GDP over the next five years.
A full copy of the report can be found here.