QLD warns feds on digital overreach

James Riley
Editorial Director

Queensland’s Digital Technology Minister Mick de Brenni has lashed out at Federal Digital Transformation Minister Michael Kennan for using the Australian Digital Council to “water down” state regulations.

Mr Kennan proposed during the recent Australian Digital Council (ADC) that cross-jurisdictional business simplification processes are necessary when dealing with government.

Mr de Brenni said he was concerned the proposed business simplification projects will act as a so-called “Trojan Horse” that will see important regulation be wind back.

“What we don’t want to see from the federal government are Trojan Horse tactics that drag down regulations under the guise of business simplification,” he said.

“Queensland sets very high standards when it comes to regulation, and any alignment between states and the federal government should meet these standards, not fall below them.”

The ministers collectively agreed there is merit for each state to leverage the work of other states that have already begun simplifying business engagement with government, without weakening regulations.

Last Friday’s meeting, chaired by Mr Kennan, was the second ADC meeting.

The first was held in September, shortly after Scott Morrison was appointed Prime Minister. He established the council to bring together state and federal ministers responsible for public data and digital transformation programs to knock-down obstacles for cross-jurisdictional data sharing and improvement arrangements for the digital identity framework.

It operates as a COAG-style Ministerial Council, with its own secretariat based within Prime Minister and Cabinet.

Mr de Brenni took the opportunity also remind Mr Kennan of the ADC’s role as a cross-jurisdictional strategy mechanism, following the federal government’s decision to not consult ADC members on the release of the Digital Transformation Strategy last month.

“It’s critical that all levels of government work together and collaborate with business, and I’ll be seeking a greater level of cooperation with our activities in the future.

“It is only through this approach that the full social and economic benefits for citizens of this transformational work can be realised, which will in turn further strengthen public trust.”

The meeting also saw all federal and station ministers agree that data sharing between governments is a priority. They believe that doing so will generate greater policy insights to improve government services for citizens and business.

A pilot project between the federal and Western Australian governments to share data on children born with birth defects and pharmaceuticals prescribed to mothers while pregnant will be used to explore the initial opportunities of data sharing between governments.

“This project would bring data out of government silos to provide opportunities for high impact analysis, which is currently not possible,” Mr Kennan said.

In conjunction with the pilot, the federal, New South Wales and South Australia governments will run a separate pilot to build a “longitudinal and enduring cross-jurisdictional data asset to improve services for people with disability” with the option for other state government to opt in as the project develops.

The ADC will reconvene again in early 2019.

Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email.

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