4 August 2022

ACT Budget: Digital boost for public service, more support for Access Canberra

| Ian Bushnell
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ACT Government building

The ACT Public Service is moving to a more flexible working model. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

The ACT Budget provides more than $60 million over four years in funding to strengthen the ACT Public Service, particularly to boost its digital capability.

$21.4 million has gone to support the ongoing operation of the ACT Digital platform, which services more than 200,000 ACT Digital Account holders transacting across a range of online government services.

This will include design and scoping work for further online government services, including a new school enrolment system and a new vehicle registration system.

The ACT Revenue Office ICT systems will also be upgraded at a cost of $9.5 million, including the design and construction of a replacement to the ACT Valuation Office IT system and transferring the existing system to its own hardware infrastructure, extending the life of the system significantly.

This builds on the 2021-22 Budget initiative Digitising Government services, which is delivering a range of online service improvements, including single-touch recognition of concessions and change of address details.

READ MORE ACT Budget Reaction: Business urges more action on skills, attracting staff

As part of ACT Planning System Reforms, $16.4 million will deliver a modern digital planning system that will improve user experience, facilitate communications and training for users, as well as provide an appropriately skilled workforce to implement and enforce the reforms.

Access Canberra will be given extra support to deal with increased service demands, greater costs related to licence plate production and postage, and additional staff to process transactions faster, costing $4.7 million.

Access Canberra Woden

Access Canberra will get more staff to cope with service pressures. Photo: Access Canberra.

The government will also implement an e-invoicing system at a cost of $330,000 for faster and more efficient processing of invoices between it and suppliers, part of ongoing efforts to improve payment times, particularly for small and medium local businesses.

$2.5 million will go towards establishing an Office of Industrial Relations and Workforce Strategy to consolidate and strengthen the management of industrial relations across the ACT Public Service.

Once the Office is up and running, a review will be conducted to determine ongoing resourcing needs from 2024-25. The costs will be partially offset through contributions from directorates.

The government will also continue to promote job security and permanency where possible through the establishment and operation of a Secure Employment Framework.

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A new funding model for injury management will improve return-to-work service efficiency for injured and ill ACT public servants by directly funding workforce injury management functions rather than funding them through cross-directorate cost recovery. The cost will be fully offset from directorates’ existing funding.

The government will continue the Flexible Work Program and spend $1.7 million to refurbish existing office space in Gungahlin to create flexi hubs to support new ways of working, building on the funding provided for flexi hubs in Tuggeranong and Belconnen in the 2021-22 Budget initiative Improving and upgrading government accommodation.

This program will allow ACT Public Service employees to commute to a flexi hub located in their nearest town centre and will be partially offset through contributions from directorates.

The government will also improve the digital experience through a consolidation and redevelopment of ACT Government websites.

There is $6.6 million for ongoing development and implementation of the Human Resources Information Management Solution (HRIMS) which will provide a whole-of-government platform for rostering, entitlements and other human resources functions.

This funding will support preparation and change management across agencies for system implementation and the ongoing delivery of a tailored service platform.

The ACT Ombudsman will get an extra $4.2 million to support its services, including investigations of complaints against ACT Government agencies and ACT Policing, the Reportable Conduct Scheme, the Freedom of Information Scheme, the Judicial Council function and the Inspector of the ACT Integrity Commission.

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Recognise NOT everyone is tech savvy! Give some people a hotline telephone no where someone will answer the phone. For disabled, vision impaired, aged pensioners etc.
No long waiting please.

Will somebody just answer the Access ACT phone no?
It’s become inadequate. One phone number for the entire population for any govt service is ridiculous.

Maybe.. just maybe there will be some improvements to Fix my street issues. 3 months after one submission (and after I had posted several ‘ what’s happening’ updates I was advised that the issue was in the purview of NCA and that I should contact them. Another submission finally got a response also after 3 months!

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