Page 3343 - Week 11 - Wednesday, 18 September 2013

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Joe Hockey made it very clear in the document he released a few days before the federal election that the Liberal Party nationally has had a change of position on NICTA and is now withdrawing its funding. That is very disappointing. It follows a pattern that we have seen in Queensland where the Queensland government cut funding for NICTA. I am pleased at this stage that it would appear New South Wales and Victoria are maintaining their funding and I can give this commitment: the ACT government’s funding will be maintained. I thank Mr Gentleman for bringing this motion forward today.

MS BERRY (Ginninderra) (12.13): I am speaking to this motion because I think it is important that this Assembly highlight the prominent role of information and communications technology research in delivering better services and building more effective infrastructure for our community. The ACT government has a positive policy when it comes to innovative use of ICT to improve the delivery of services, to make communications to Canberrans more effective and to enhance infrastructure. A great example of this innovation is the way that the emergency services have dramatically improved their communication of incidents and warnings to the community and improved the flow of information within all relevant parts of the government.

The ESA website, which was developed in 2011, became the central point for the ACT government’s single point of truth for information during emergencies. The single point of truth is part process and part technology. The SPOT process is a streamlined, non-bureaucratic channelling of all information during an emergency, in and out of one single point of truth. The SPOT technology architecture was designed, built and tested in-house to disseminate emergency alerts, updates and warnings to multiple platforms, including the ESA website, Twitter and Facebook accounts, RSS and GeoRSS, email and SMS distribution groups.

This allows each emergency alert, update and warning to be distributed literally at the same time, literally within seconds to multiple audiences—for example, the media, general public, Canberra Connect call centre, and ministers and senior ACT government executives. There are several components to the SPOT technology architecture. The SPOT online application is an online application that ESA duty public information coordination centre officers use to write and send out emergency alerts, updates and warnings to multiple platforms at the push of a button.

The full text of each message is published on the ESA website homepage within seconds of the send button being hit. The message title is simultaneously published to the ESA Twitter and Facebook accounts with hyperlinks back to the full message on the ESA website.

The full message text is also sent to email and SMS recipients. The SPOT app has gained national and international interest from the emergency services and wider government sector. The SPOT app was also awarded the overall top national prize in the Resilient Australia Awards in December 2012, equivalent to the Gold Logies. It cost $500,000 to develop plus ongoing charges. The SPOT online application backup is exactly the same as the main app but is replicated on completely separate infrastructure for redundancy purposes.

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