Federation Chamber BILLS Appropriation Bill (No. 1) 2013-2014 Consideration in Detail

Mr HUSIC (Chifley) (17:49): I want to talk about ways in which we are improving the delivery of government through the use of web based initiatives. I direct this to the Assistant Treasurer. The work that has been done in measuring the impact of greater usage within the broader economy and, in particular, Deloitte Access Economics last year pointed out that the contribution of the internet to the economy predicted to balloon seven per cent over the next five years, increasing from $50 billion now to $70 billion and, as more homes get connected tho this, will increase the value of economic growth in Australia. In particular, what they point out is the ability to track down information is more efficient with spending, amounts to a saving of about $500 per person or $7 billion nationally, and the productivity impact in workplaces in 2011 calculated that business in government would generate $27 billion in value through the productivity benefit. The reason I go to that is, in particular—

Mrs Bronwyn Bishop interjecting—

Mr HUSIC: I would not expect you to understand anything about technology, member for Mackellar. If I could take you to page 290—

Ms O’Dwyer: That was rude!

Mr HUSIC: You are asking me not to be rude! I have heard everything now from the member for Higgins. If I could take you to page 290 of budget paper 2, it talks about spending of just a shade over $9 million over four years, to implement a web based whole-of-government electronic grants advertising application reporting system. There a number of organisations in my electorate that from time to time would benefit from being able to access funding to do a variety of things in our area. You often are just reliant on seeing ads in the newspaper and then it is pure chance as to whether or not you will pick that up and whether or not there would be another way in which to ensure casting the net wide enough for organisations to be able to submit for grants and then being able to—particularly in our areas—have those community groups access that funding deployed on the ground and see change happen in our neighbourhood.

I was interested in seeing in that section how the system would work. I would be keen to find out from you how you see that system work. How will it compare to the current situation for grant administration, especially when you contrast the way in which organisations get access to understand whether or not a round is open and how they can then bid and walk their way through the application process, and why is necessary? Also, on the issue of the web based element, can you let us know how that is going to operate and does it mean that everyone will be able to see what grants are available and what grants have been awarded? I would like to gain more information on that initiative.