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Monday, 24 November 1997
Page: 9233


Senator MURPHY —My question is to the Minister representing the Minister for Finance and Administration. Minister, in light of the outsourcing of Department of Finance and Administration IT to IBM subsidiary, IBMGSA, can you guarantee the security of data held by the Office of Asset Sales? Will you acknowledge that there is now sufficient concern about the sensitivity of data that some elements of the Office of Asset Sales database should be excluded from the outsourcing process? Given the Attorney-General's statement that it is incumbent upon every agency entering into an outsourcing contract to ensure that the contractor understands the importance of the protection of individuals' personal information, can you guarantee that all agencies have met that obligation?


Senator KEMP —I do have a brief from the Minister for Finance and Administration which touches on aspects of the question that you have raised. I will refer those aspects which are not touched on to the Minister for Finance and Administration.

The chief executive of OASIT, as you are aware, has indicated that this issue—independence from the IBMGSA contract with DOF—is amongst the first of the matters he has identified as requiring resolution in the amalgamation of OAS and the IT outsourcing functions from OGIT. He has indicated his intention of negotiating with the Department of Finance and Administration and IBMGSA to dispense with the services of IBMGSA following the physical co-location of the two functions during December. OASIT would then move to appoint an appropriate contractor to manage its small in-house desktop IT functions under arrangements that would be seen to fully protect the probity and security of access to OASIT information. The details of this change have yet to be developed.

I am advised by the Minister for Finance and Administration that OASIT would not wish this move to be interpreted as any criticism of IBMGSA, whose service to OAS in the short time it has been in place has been commendable. The Minister for Finance and Administration further advises that it could be seen as necessary to avoid any suggestion that IBMGSA could have inappropriate access to OASIT information relevant to contracts in which it may have had an interest.