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The future of spatially enabled government: address to Geospatial Infrastructure Solutions Conference, Brisbane.

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The Hon Gary Nairn MP

Special Minister of State


Address by The Hon Gary Nairn MP Special Minister of State

Geospatial Infrastructure Solutions Conference The future of spatially enabled government

Brisbane 8 August 2007


z Ladies and Gentlemen, it gives me great pleasure to be representing the Australian Government at your conference.

z Today we face major infrastructure and information issues in addition to challenges such as climate change and water shortages, which affect citizens, business and the community at large.

z As the Minister responsible for e-government I’m provided with exciting opportunities to use information and communication technology to meet these key challenges.

z In my role I oversee the work done by the Australian Government Information Management Office, or AGIMO.

z AGIMO’s primary role is to oversee the development of e-government in Australia, and the delivery of government services through the use of information and communication technology.


z Last year I launched the Australian e-Government Strategy - Responsive Government: A New Service Agenda.

z This strategy is being implemented by AGIMO, in conjunction with departments and agencies.

z The strategy has amongst its strategic priorities: { meeting users’ needs;

{ building connected service delivery;

{ achieving value for money; and

{ enhancing public sector capability - all very important objectives.

z It outlines our plans through to 2010 and beyond and foreshadows the future - and a new way of interacting with citizens.

z This strategy is not an attempt to centralise e-government initiatives. Rather it recognises that the devolved nature of the Australian government presents specific challenges.

z These challenges must be dealt with through cooperation and sharing, based on a plan that aims to realise the potential of e-government.

z The work being done to bring about the Australian Government Online Service Point, a $42.4

million initiative, will take us a step closer to realising this potential.

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z The initiative will enhance and transform it from a web portal to the Australian

Government’s Online Service Point.

z We are calling it an Online Service Point because it will be much more than a website or a

portal - it will be a new way to deliver government services, a new model of public administration for the 21st century.

z Currently, citizens must navigate multiple government websites to access government

services, re-entering personal details on every site to access these services.

z Our e-Government Satisfaction Surveys have identified this process as frustrating and

time-consuming for citizens.


z In response to this will be enhanced to provide citizens with the capability to

find information and carry out transactions in one place.

z The enhancements will put Australia at the forefront of e-Government development.

z is already well known within the community, receiving over 500,000 visitors

per month and growing.

z Through this project the site will be significantly enhanced to provide a central access point for

Government services.


z It will link citizens to personalised information and transactional services from across the

Australian Government.

z And provide simple, convenient access to online information and services provided by all

Australian Government agencies for citizens.

z A single sign-on capability will enable citizens to link their existing government online accounts

with their account, and will allow citizens to move between websites and transactions without needing to constantly reconfirm their identity.


z In addition, it will offer a National Government Services Directory with advanced search and

mapping capabilities, and ‘smart’ forms that will pre-populate user information where appropriate.

z An easy change of address service is also planned; enabling users to control - in a single

transaction - which government agencies will be informed of their new address.

z There has been much discussion of late regarding security and privacy around the use of ICT

to deliver government services.

z I would like to make it very clear that the enhanced will meet tough security

standards, and in the interest of safeguarding citizens’ privacy, services offered through the site will be strictly opt-in.

z There will be no mandatory requirement for citizens to use or access personal accounts, nor to

conduct transactions with the government electronically via

z There is no wrong way for citizens to interact with government - the enhanced will provide another avenue for that interaction and enable simpler, more efficient service delivery.


z Geospatial data can powerfully enhance the way government provides services to citizens and

number of government agencies are also making use of spatial data and mapping

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technologies to enhance their service delivery.

z The Department of Families and Community Services and Indigenous Affairs or FACSIA is using business intelligence mapping to assist in policy and operational decision making.

z New South Wales staff of FACSIA, who manage the Outside School Hours Care Program, are using the mapping intelligence to identify areas of need and make faster strategic decisions.

z They no longer need to photocopy street directories to identify schools, childcare and related services in a given area and manually combine them with statistical data.

z FACSIA is now rolling out this technology and approach to service delivery out to other states and territories

z Australian Fisheries Management Authority is also making use of business intelligence and maps.

z They are using spatial data and applications to gather and store information about tracking and reporting on fisheries activity in Commonwealth waters.

z In particular they ensure compliance with international fishing agreements as well as administering an illegal foreign fishing program.

z A fisheries manager is able to click on a map to reveal total catch by fish species or by fishery and is able to compare it over time for example.


z Another example is the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ MapStats.

z MapStats are designed to provide users with quick and easy access to mapped Census statistics, such as selected population, ethnicity, education, family, income, labour force and dwelling characteristics.

z These are practical examples of government utilising latest technology in the spatial sphere to deliver better services to citizens and business.

z Spatial data and applications will also be important tools in dealing with national issues such as water, climate change and other environmental challenges and opportunities.

z There are a number of agencies and organisations with different yet possibly complementary

data sets and approaches to spatial data management.

z I have asked AGIMO to play a role in coordinating the input and views of key stakeholders to

ensure that the standards and approaches to be adopted in the spatial information make sense, build on existing standards and approaches in such a way that it anticipates the future potential use of such data for various purposes.

z It is important to consider the future use of that data.

z Once we have built infrastructure, be it a large central database or a network of connected

nodes, and we have a good handle on the water priorities of today; we are likely to identify new priorities (e.g. management of coastlines, carbon-trading infrastructures, energy security planning) that also need a slice of all or some of the layers developed for managing other infrastructure.


z Spatial data will be particularly important to the government’s $126 million project to establish

the Australian Centre for Climate Change Adaptation, which was announced by the Prime Minister earlier this year.

z The Centre’s work will assist those most affected by climate change, such as farmers,

businesses, and local governments; better understand climate change, its impact, and how to develop responses to it.

z The government’s National Climate Change Adaptation Framework also proposes the

development of a national digital elevation model for Australia.

z This spatial model would not only map the whole country but provide very high resolution

imagery of those areas particularly at risk from climate change.

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z The National Land and Water Resources Audit, an initiative of the Natural Heritage Trust and ANZLIC, the Spatial Information Council, have been working together to develop a Statement of Intent for improving the Australian natural resources information infrastructure.

z The Audit provides data, information and nationwide assessments of Australia's land water and biological resources to support sustainable development.

z The purpose of the Statement is to enable information to be easily accessed and integrated to support decision making for sustainable natural resource management.

z The Statement is inline with the recent endorsement of the National Information Sharing Strategy by the Online and Communications Council. A body I co-chair with Minister Coonan.

z The National Information Sharing Strategy recognises the similarity of challenges facing the effective collaboration and information sharing across jurisdictions in sectors including spatial, health, education and water.

z It will provide a standardised approach to information sharing to enable a coherent and complete view of each sector.

z Without an agreed national framework for the sharing of information there is a risk that information sharing will develop in fragmented and inefficient ways.

z The spatial community will be involved in the development of the strategy and the options for implementation as a test bed.

z The National Information Sharing Strategy is supported by the Australian e-Government strategy and e-government strategies at state and territory levels, which aim to facilitate the collaborative sharing of information to ensure effective and efficient service delivery to the Australian community.

z One avenue of facilitating information sharing across jurisdictions we are looking at is the

creative commons licensing regime.

[SLIDE 10]

z The regime potentially provides a legally effective information licensing framework to enable

all agencies to share information and complies with the Australian Copyright Act.

z Creative commons licenses are designed to facilitate and encourage more versatility and

flexibility in copyright.

z The licences are designed to help content creators quickly and easily tell the world their work

is available for sharing but only on certain terms.

z The scheme exists as a series of licences that are customised to the specific needs a content

creator may have.

z Creative Commons provides an alternative layer of copyright and a store of material that can

be accessed and understood by almost anyone with minimal effort.

z It is hoped that as Creative Commons scheme grows people will experiment with new ways to

promote and market their work.

z The Creative Commons scheme potentially provides a new, innovative approach, and legal

framework, to the recording, protection, and distribution of information, across both government and non-government spheres.

z Planning to meet the challenges will be aided through the application of spatial information but

will also require clear communication with citizens, businesses and other community groups if we are all to work together to find solutions.

z An option may be the voluntary publication of the feedback that government receives on a

range of documents that it releases for public comment.

z This will enable a more transparent understanding of the detail behind different stakeholder

inputs to a range of issues that the government has under consideration.

z It will lead to a richer engagement and more detailed discussion on issues than what is

possible via short meetings or conference calls.

z Here is an example of how ICT-enabled citizen engagement facilities might be used to consult

with residents and enhance policy making.

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z Residents in an area may be given the opportunity to use an online consultative forum to contribute and share their views on a new strategy for the development and management of outdoor recreation facilities planned for their area.

z This may include maps and 3D models of the proposed site and the effect on the surroundings.

z Through the online forum residents will have access to the discussion paper, they can review proposed outcomes of a similar strategy in another comparable area and contribute their ideas and views before the strategy is finalised.

z They can also consider the views of other residents who have chosen to make their views available for publication on the online forum.

z Once they have reviewed and considered the paper, residents may choose to make their own contribution visible to others.

z In fact, we have already established a public consultation system through

[SLIDE 11]

z facilitates public consultation with a range of agencies including: { The National Health and Medical Research Council;

{ The Office of the Access Card, and

{ The Office of the Privacy Commission, just to name a few.

z We are making progress!

z ICT enabled engagement tools have the potential to improve communication between residents, as well as between citizens and government.

z It is clear that technology will continue to provide many benefits for our country and the global community.

z It creates the opportunity - forces us to re-think new ways to do things - and in discarding the old ways, this leaves a wake of people and processes that need to find a new level.

z These challenges aren’t beyond us.

z Having like minded and committed professionals in organisations such those here today enables us to work through these issues and grasp the opportunities and the benefits - for the economy, the delivery of services and the general well-being and cohesiveness of our communities.

[SLIDE 12]

z I would like to conclude by congratulating the Geospatial Information and Technology

Association for staging this conference; I trust it has been a productive one for you all.

z Thank you and good afternoon.

Geospatial Infrastructure Solutions Conference Presentation [PDF - 796KB]

Media Enquiries: Mr Nairn's Office - Megan Magill 02 6277 7600 or 0417 836 952

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This page was last updated 13 August, 2007

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