The Victorian government will invest $180 million in digital service delivery and $51 million to improve cybersecurity in the public sector as part of the 2021-22 state budget.
Treasurer Tim Pallas handed down the budget on Thursday afternoon, with a significant focus on uplifting the delivery of digital government services and improving the government’s cybersecurity.
A total of $180 million will be invested in digital services as part of the budget, including $70 million for Service Victoria to bring more services online, such as grant applications and business licencing approvals.
“Our relationship with the digital world has never been more important, and the pandemic and bushfires showed us just how important our online offering is,” government services minister Danny Pearson said.
“We’re streamlining our online services, cutting red tape and investing in technology so Victorians spend less time navigating the system and more time on the things that really matter. With these investments, we’ll relieve businesses and industries of their paperwork and burden, allowing them to focus on their recovery.”
The state government will invest $25 million in the next two financial years each on enhancing customer experience with government digital services in Victoria.
Data will also be a major focus of the Victorian government, with $7.1 million going towards the state’s Open Data Program, which will provide better access to data for individuals and businesses “so they can make informed decisions and partner with government in developing community-based solutions to public policy challenges”.
The state government also launched a new Cyber Safe Victoria 2021+ plus strategy with $51 million in funding over the next four years. The strategy will focus on improving cybersecurity in government departments and agencies, and growing jobs in cybersecurity.
It will see improvements to government cybersecurity controls and in the early detection of cyber risks, along with the deployment of “world-class technology and software tools” on public sector networks to defend against malicious software and to provide for targeted reporting.
A further $8.5 million has been provided for Parliamentary cybersecurity upgrades, which will include systems testing, training and awareness programs.
After significant recent cyber-attacks, more funding has been allocated to strengthen cybersecurity in Victoria’s public health sector and Ambulance Victoria. This will include “next generation anti-virus protections”, a Security Operations Centre and a recovery service in the event of a successful cyber attack.
Nearly $30 million has been set aside over two years to manage and consolidate a range of government websites to deliver consistent user experience as part of a single digital presence initiative.
The Victorian Information Commissioner has received a funding boost to help it complete its legislative duties, with a $600,000 top-up in 2021-22, followed by $400,000 and $300,000 in the following years.
On the back of releasing its response to the on-demand economy inquiry last week, the Victorian government has allocated $5.1 million in 2021-22 for the establishment of a team to implement the recommendations, including common standards and a new support service or agency for gig economy workers.
A new Ready for Growth service will also provide high-growth potential businesses such as startups with masterclasses and personalised coaching, including in advanced digital engagement and innovation.