Public Sector 4.0: How The 2018 Budget Will Support Innovation

Chris Peck

Industry 4.0 is changing every aspect of our lives. Therefore, it makes sense that public services should adopt innovations like artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things. This will allow public service institutions to better manage our economy, guarantee public security, and deliver more effective services.

Thankfully this has been recognized in our recent budget, particularly in the 42 projects announced in the $500 million Modernisation Fund. These projects are opportunities for Australian technology providers to improve the public sector by:

Supporting responsible innovation

The government has allocated $29.9 million for researching artificial intelligence and machine learning. This includes the development of a standards framework, roadmap, and an “AI Ethics Framework” to “support the responsible development of these technologies”1. On top of this, it is allocating $700,000 to areas where blockchain could offer “the most value for government services”.

This research shows that our government is preparing for greater use of these technologies over the next two decades. In fact, from a corporate transformation perspective, this research lays a foundation for reinventing public services. After all, advances in automation could benefit many public services. For example, by humanizing artificial intelligence, it could be applied to the ethical challenges of disaster relief.

As the public sector explores automation, it will likely work with organizations who have already adopted AI. Take, for instance, the Queensland OSR who has allied with SAP to explore machine learning. This technology is already addressing debt in the state.

Protecting citizen data

According to Budget Report No. 4, “Australia’s data is a significant national resource2”. This resource is prone to many threats, including:

  • Non-consensual IoT surveillance
  • Third party access
  • Criminal hacking

This focus on data security is reflected in the $65 million allocated to “removing barriers preventing the sharing of data while establishing safeguards2”. These safeguards include:

  • The establishment of a National Data Commissioner
  • The introduction of “legislation to improve sharing and use of public data”
  • The provision of a Consumer Data Right allowing SMEs and consumers to transfer data between service providers2.

These safeguards will enable the development of better public services while protecting citizen data. This could be seen in the health sector, with wearable data used to improve health services. As citizen data is consumer data, private companies should respect these safeguards and cooperate with the commissioner.

Upgrading legacy systems

Most citizen-facing government systems are reaching the end of their life. The government is responding to this issue with an industry mindset, working with agencies to improve these digital services.

To this end, our government is allocating $130 million to the Department of Home Affairs and $106.8 million to Medicare3 for IT infrastructure upgrades. To upgrade effectively, these services are investing in best-in-class CRM systems. That is, systems that go beyond core functionality to serve citizens using personalization, intelligent analytics, and real-time cloud-driven communication.


Our government is committed to becoming a world leader in digital governance; transforming to meet the needs of every citizen. This budget offers society many opportunities for driving long-term innovation and collaboration.

To adapt your enterprise to these developments, explore SAP’s Intelligent Enterprise solutions.

Chris Peck

About Chris Peck

Digital transformation through innovation and the adoption of leading edge technology, most recently cloud technology, has been the focus of my career. I strive to cultivate and co-ordinate the best outcomes for top Australian Public Services Organisations and Corporations by dedicating myself to customer engagement and leadership.