Canberra's digital vision on show

Tuesday, 06 March, 2018

Canberra's digital vision on show

Better data integration will lead to better policy and better outcomes for all.

Digital transformation and the application of big data to internal processes is a key driver for governments of all sizes, but particularly so for Australia’s federal government. And that drive is being led right from the top — the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet (PM&C) — with the Prime Minister himself being one of the most vocal advocates for positive technological change.

Duncan McIntyre is Assistant Secretary–Data and Digital in the PM&C, tasked with heading up a whole-of-government approach. In a brief interview ahead of his participation in the Public Sector Innovation Show ( in Canberra on 27 March, McIntyre outlined the government’s digital vision.

“My role is to work across government to help us all get better value out of data and digital for the government and to assist it to help the community,” said McIntyre.

“Three things are really on my mind at the moment. The first is how government digital projects can be a better experience for Australian citizens interacting with government, and how to assist the Digital Transformation Agency in their work to work across government to get those projects working better,” he said.

“The second is working on the Data Integration Partnership for Australia, which is a collaboration between 10 departments across 14 projects to make better use of existing government data to make better policy decisions and to help ministers and the cabinet better direct government work.

“And the third thing is, we’re looking at developing a better data system for the Commonwealth so we can make better use of our data, but also liberate that data to be better used for the rest of the economy,” he added.

According to McIntyre, the opportunity is “just enormous”.

“Data is increasingly the key resource that we have that we could make better use of to improve outcomes for citizens,” he said.

“There are a lot of different projects across different parts of government, and we’re starting to see those results from putting big data sets together carefully in appropriately anonymised ways in secure facilities [and] using that data to provide better results for citizens,” he said.

Sharing results

At the Public Sector Innovation Show, McIntyre will share some of the lessons he and his team have learned.

“I’ll be talking a little bit about some of the things we’ve learned… and some ideas we have about how to make it a little bit easier for departments to successfully work together to drive shared outcomes,” he said.

“Over the past year we’ve been working for the first time on trying to join up data across government more… to solve joint policy problems,” he added. “And we’ve learned a lot about what works and a lot more about what doesn’t work when departments are trying to work together.

“I hope it’s a really good opportunity for people to get a sense for what’s going on around government, and get some fresh ideas from other people that can help them in their work. I hope that one of the things that I can do is tell people a little bit more about what we’re seeing and how they can get involved in it, so they can take that away into their work and do a better job.”

Watch a short video of Duncan McIntyre speaking about the federal public sector’s aims for digital government.

The Public Sector Innovation Show will feature 50-plus speakers with both international and local case studies. Four key streams will be dedicated to HR, procurement and finance, ICT and digital government, and business processes and transformation. Full details are available at

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