Tech wreck report delayed again

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James Riley

A Senate report on the federal government’s series of “tech wrecks” has been delayed again following the shuttering of another high-profile IT project.

The Labor-led Finance and Public Administration References Committee is now set to table its report on the digital delivery of government services on Wednesday next week.

The inquiry was launched in August last year and was originally meant to hand down its report by December. It has since been granted five reporting extensions.

The committee was meant to table the report on Tuesday this week, but the Senate granted it another week to deliver the report.

A committee spokesperson confirmed it had been granted a “short extension”, saying that such delays are not uncommon.

The further extension comes just days after another troubling tech project for the federal government. On Friday last week, the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission terminated its biometrics project contracted to NEC Australia due to “delays”.

The government had already spent more than $90 million on the project, which was suspended at the start of this month, with NEC Australia staff escorted from the government building by security.

The senate inquiry investigated high-profile tech problems and whether digital government services can deliver on privacy, security, quality, reliability and value for money.

It also looked at the strategy for whole-of-government digital transformation and digital project delivery.

“My concern here is to look at those two dynamics and to really assess what is the government’s position here, and how well are the personnel, and the structures, and the government’s arrangements, set up to deliver on the vision,” committee chair and Labor senator Jenny McAllister said.

“Because there has been just so much change at a time when there has been so many problems. We need some clarity about where the government thinks it is going and whether it is set up to deliver on that.”

The committee received a number of submissions on the matters and held a series of public hearings, featuring the likes of former government digital tsar Paul Shetler, the Community and Public Sector Union and the Australian Information Industry Association.

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