Budget sees PS grow
The federal public sector will grow and become more cyber-capable in the coming year, according to the new budget papers.
The federal budget says average staffing levels across the bureaucracy will be 166,762 in 2019/20, up 1,197 on the previous year (not including military and reserves).
Home Affairs will grow by up to 1,003 places, industry and science agencies up 308, 285 more staff for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, while the agriculture department takes the biggest hit, down 231.
Military personnel numbers should rise by 1,425 over the year to 60,090 as the Australian Defence Force seeks to reach its 2016 defence white paper target.
“As in previous years, we must continue to increase efficiency, grow productivity and engage effectively with citizens and businesses, to deliver the best possible results for the community and the economy,” Public Service Minister Mathias Cormann wrote in the agency resourcing paper.
One of the most significant new projects is an $82.4 million scheme to expand the ATO’s Single Touch Payroll project, adding new data on gross pay and child support withholding.
“These changes will reduce the compliance burden for employers and individuals reporting information to multiple agencies and reduce complexity for people who are in both the tax and payment systems,” Mr Cormann said.
He listed other examples of modernising public service delivery including - funding for “accelerated implementation” of the myGovID digital identity system and trials of new jobseeker services following last year’s review of the Jobactive system.
There is also $8.4 million over two years for the Australian Electoral Commission to “identify the best way of deploying new polling place technology” and cut reliance on paper rolls.
“The Government will also provide $2.4 million in 2019-20 to assist with the preparatory phase for upgrading the AEC’s ICT infrastructure, to identify the best technology to manage elections through the coming decades.”
The budget also provides $104.5 million to set up the Commonwealth Integrity Commission, and an unspecified amount for a “cyber uplift” program in federal agencies.
“This includes the creation of cyber ‘Sprint Teams’ within the Australian Cyber Security Centre and a Cyber Security Response Fund,” the Budget papers say.