Tuesday, May 10, 2011

IT matters of interest in the 2011/2012 Federal Budget

Just about every year since the Australian Federal Budget was first put on the web, I have done a quick search though the documents to find matters of interest in information technology.

This year budget web site worked fine at 8pm and kept working (last year the system failed at 7:53pm, reporting: "HTTP Error 404 - File or directory not found").


Each year from 1996 to 2006 the budget web site got better. But by 2007-08 seemed to reached a stable design, also used for 2009/2010 and 2010/2011. The site is in the same HTML 4.01 Transitional, as the last two years and has not been changed to XHTML, or HTML 5, as used for newer web sites. The code is clean and efficient.

As happened last year, the home page failed a W3C HTML Markup Validation test, with 4 errors. These are minor ones and the same number as last two years.

The home page scored a very poor 29% on the W3C mobileOK Checker, down from 35% last year. This is unfortunate, given the increase in the use of smart phones and tablet computers in the last year.

I was not able to conduct an automated accessibility test, but the home page seemed likely to pass at Level 1, as last year.

As with the last two years, important tables in the overview are provided as blurry image files, while the detailed documents have better formatted HTML tables.


The budget search service responded promptly. References to "Information Technology" were down from 15 last year, to 5:
  1. Budget Measures 2011-12 - Budget Paper No. 2 - Part 2: Expense Measures - Climate Change and Energy Efficiency : "Renewable Energy Target — implementation of legislative amendments ... This measure includes capital funding of $6.6 million over five years for information technology upgrades."
  2. Budget Strategy and Outlook 2011-12 - Budget Paper No. 1 - Statement 6: Expenses and Net Capital Investment: "investment by several agencies in information technology including the ATO and the Department of Finance and Deregulation...".
  3. Budget Measures 2011-12 - Budget Paper No. 2 - Part 2: Expense Measures - Treasury
  4. Budget Strategy and Outlook 2011-12 - Budget Paper No. 1 - Statement 8: Statement of Risks
  5. Education, Employment and Workplace Relations: "In addition, funding will be provided to enhance and improve the exchange of information between Centrelink and the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations' information technology systems. This will improve the capacity of employment services providers and Centrelink staff to view and use appropriate material from each other."

The "National Broadband Network" continues to dominate government thinking on IT, with 24 mentions in the budget papers.

The $4.3B over six years for regional Australia is likely to involve significant IT expenditure for hospitals and health services, education.

The "Individual Electronic Health Record" (IEHR) system, which was a feature of last year's budget, was not mentioned.

Of more significance to IT was the announcement a few days before the budget that the Department of Defence is proceeding with Thin Client and Application Virtualisation. If successful, this will revolutionise IT in a major federal agency and pave the way for the technology to be used across the government and then in industry. This will lower costs, reduce energy use (and this greenhouse gas emissions) and increase productivity. It will have a larger impact than any of the IT matters in the Budget.

Comments on previous budgets:

1996 http://www.anu.edu.au/mail-archives/link/link9608/0096.html
1997 http://www.anu.edu.au/mail-archives/link/link9705/0315.html
1998 http://www.anu.edu.au/mail-archives/link/link9805/0174.html
1999 http://www.anu.edu.au/mail-archives/link/link9905/0265.html
2000 http://www.anu.edu.au/mail-archives/link/link0005/0358.html
2002 http://www.anu.edu.au/mail-archives/link/link0205/0318.html
2004 http://mailman.anu.edu.au/pipermail/link/2004-May/056673.html
2005 http://www.archivum.info/link@mailman.anu.edu.au/2005-05/msg00035.html
2006 http://mailman.anu.edu.au/pipermail/link/2006-May/066486.html
2007 http://www.tomw.net.au/blog/2007/05/it-matters-of-interest-in-20072008.html
2008 http://www.tomw.net.au/blog/2008/05/it-matters-of-interest-in-20072008.html
2009 http://blog.tomw.net.au/2009/05/it-matters-of-interest-in-20092010.html
2010 http://blog.tomw.net.au/2010/05/it-matters-of-interest-in-20102011.html



Tom Worthington said...

Also the "Voluntary Internet Filtering Grants program" has been cancelled, saving $9.8m, as there was a lack of interest in the grants.

Unknown said...

'The "Individual Electronic Health Record" (IEHR) system, which was a feature of last year's budget, was not mentioned.' - You should be looking Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR)http://www.computerworld.com.au/article/385928/budget_2011_e-health_communication_trumps_spending/