I’m grateful for the comments and messages in reponse to last week’s notes. A few people asked what I’m up to - so this week I’ll talk a bit more about that.
Since December, I’ve been working with the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment. We’re building new digital services to modernise how agricultural exports are regulated. By doing this, we’ll give time back to Australia’s farmers and producers, help open up new export markets, and contribute to increasing the size of Australia’s agriculture industry to $100 billion by 2030.
From a digital perspective alone, there’s a lot to be excited about:
- it’s a great example of digital investment with a direct line to economic benefit, which is something I really liked about the Digital Restart Fund in New South Wales
- the program is very ‘greenfield’ - there are a few legacy IT systems but many processes currently exist solely on paper
- our digital team has been established inside the regulatory function, so we can bring closer together our regulators and digital practitioners - which is very rare in government
Our program was funded in last year’s budget (pdf), with $222 million for digital over 4 years.
One of our first product teams is building a new service to help businesses manage all the registrations and approvals required to be ‘export ready’. At the moment, these steps are completely paper-based.
This week, the team progressed from alpha to beta and showcased their alpha prototype with our senior colleagues across the business areas to really positive feedback. Next, the team are working to deliver the first version of the service by the end of June. It will launch as a private beta where we’ll invite a small number of exporters to trial it before we open more widely.
We’re growing quickly - we now have 7 teams and we will only need to grow quicker as we continue through the year. When you’re moving fast, it’s easy to run into growing pains. One of the ways we’re working to reduce these is by investing early in a team of lead practitioners who work across all our teams to help unblock us when we’re stuck and keep us heading in the same direction.
I am very excited that Mariam has joined us from the DTA to lead this team, Brigette has joined us to build our ResearchOps capability, and more people are joining us in the next few weeks.
I missed the supermoon this week, so instead here’s a transient photo from Thursday evening and a photo from a chilly walk on Saturday.