Govt ICT spending tops $5b annually

Applications and ICT management are the lion's share of tech spend

New figures released by the Department of Finance and Deregulation show the Australian government is a major supporter of the ICT industry, spending on average $5 billion per year on technology products, services and skills.

The figures, revealed in the department’s Australian Government ICT expenditure, 2008-09 – 2009-10 report, show that three quarters of its annual ICT spending is on hardware, software, outsourced services and skills, with the remaining quarter on internal staff.

The report also notes that in 2008-09 ICT operating expenditure as a proportion of total operating expenditure amounted to 5.2 per cent, while in 2009-10 the figure amounted to 4.9 per cent.

Business as usual (BAU) ICT expenditure as proportion of total ICT expenditure amounted to 67 per cent in 2008-09 and 70 per cent in 2009-10.

Of all the areas of ICT expenditure, applications spending took the lion’s share with 35 per cent in 2008-09 and 36 per cent in 2009-10. ICT management on average accounted for 10 per cent of spending, followed by end-user infrastructure at an average of 13 per cent and WAN and voice services at an average of 7.5 per cent each.

Internal personnel took up the bulk of total ICT expenditure with 24 per cent across both years, followed by outsourcing external services averaging 20 per cent across the two years, then software (16.5 per cent,) external personnel (13.5 per cent), hardware (13.5 per cent), carriage (8 per cent) and other services (3.5 per cent).

Full time ICT employees as a percentage of total full time employees accounted for 6.6 per cent in 2008-09 and 6.3 per cent 2009-10. Some 20 per cent of ICT employees time was dedicated to development and programming followed by business process analysis/design and helpdesk/support at 8 per cent each.

Training and development accounted for just 1 per cent of time as did information/knowledge management.

The bulk of external employees’ time was spent on applications-based work averaging 68.5 per cent across the two years compared to an average of 47.5 per cent for internal employees, and ICT management averaging 24 per cent compared to just 12.5 per cent for internal employees.

According to the department, the report was produced following work by Peter Gershon to reform the government's use and expenditure on ICT and improve the degree of public openness on government spending.

Special minister for state, Gary Gray, said in a statement that the report gives a useful insight into the government ICT market.

“The government’s investment in ICT is improving the way it delivers services to the community and industry,” he said. “While this type of data has not been released previously, the release is consistent with the government’s ongoing commitment to providing better access to government held information.”

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