Governments are facing revenue and expenditure pressures that will only intensify in the coming decades as the Australian population ages. This is creating an urgent need to reduce costs, particularly in non-front line areas such as administration. At the same time, the public sector is at a crossroads of how services have been delivered in the past and how they will be delivered in the future. It is also facing structural changes, such as an increasingly mobile workforce and more complex service delivery channels.
To deal with these cost pressures and impending structural changes, governments will need to fundamentally change their policy-making and regulatory frameworks, and their approach to service delivery. Adopting digital technologies will be central to solving these problems, but it will also require comprehensive reforms to the public sector. However, such reforms are not just about cutting costs. Improvements to public sector efficiencies and effectiveness, and reduced administration costs can also flow on to a healthier national economy and enable improved services in areas such as health and education.
Many countries around the world are now well aware of the importance of e-government and many governments have shown leadership in developing online services. The benefits of e-government applications can include cutting costs and improving processes and information flow, but one of its primary aims is to improve customer service for citizens.
The government policy on the National Broadband Network has also sharpened its focus on the digital economy and the leadership role the government will have to play to kick-start developments in the area of e-government. This has resulted in the National Digital Economy Strategy, with now close to a 100 different projects being developed under this policy.
The government has also taken a leading role in developing a National Cloud Computing Strategy, which in turn has created trust within the broader industry to start adopting new opportunities that are becoming available here.