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DTA gets its new CEO, opposition tells gummint to get some 'nous'

New captain piped aboard the Good Ship Failboat

By Richard Chirgwin, 6 Apr 2017

Australia's Digital Transformation Agency has a new project-canceller-in-chief, announcing that ex-banker Gavin Slater will succeed interim CEO Nerida O’Loughlin as of May 1.

Slater is credited with driving a “widespread digital transformation” at the National Australia Bank, before joining fellow executive Renee Roberts on the outer after an executive restructure last year.

His first big task will be to carry out a whole-of-government IT review announced in March by minister for cities and digital transformation Angus Taylor. That review is supposed to look at all government IT contracts worth more than AU$10 million, with a report due this year.

The opposition's Ed Husic doesn't believe the DTA review is sufficient, telling the Australian Broadcasting Corporation this morning a fully-independent review by someone with “nous” is needed.

“The digital spend since the coalition came to office has gone from $5 billion to $10 billion,” he told the AM radio program, adding that it's been “double the spend, double the drama”.

Claiming that all the reviews announced by the government seem to be “future focussed”, ignoring the spectacular failures of the last year or so: the Census outage, Centrelink's disastrous “Robodebt” program, the Australian Tax Office's outages, and trouble in the National Disability Insurance Scheme among them.

“We need to be able to get to the bottom of why this has happened”, Taylor said, adding that oversight, rather than technology, seem to lie at the bottom of the government's IT problems.

“It's time to take stock of what's going on,” Taylor said, saying “someone with some nous” needs to conduct a forensic review to tell the government what's going on. ®

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