Australia's immigration IT system to undergo massive overhaul

24 February 2006


Australia's immigration department has completed a review of its IT systems and has found it needs a radical overhaul that will cost hundreds of millions of dollars.

Funding for the project is expected to be approved in the federal Budget in May.

The department has completed a strategic blueprint for replacing aging systems and software, Immigration's deputy secretary and chief information officer Bob Correll told AustralianIT.

The blueprint was based on the results of four separate reviews of different parts of the department's IT infrastructure.

The reviews were ordered in the wake of the Palmer Inquiry into the deportation of Australian resident Vivien Alvarez, and the Commonwealth Ombudsman's report into the illegal detention of Cornelia Rau.

Mr Correll was appointed as deputy secretary from the Department of Workplace Relations in the wake of the high-profile Rau and Alvarez failures, and was charged specifically with fixing Immigration's chronic IT problems.

"Clearly the need for a more client-centric approach to our systems is an important element here. (This) is under active government consideration now," said Correll.

Under a contract worth nearly $250,000, APIS Consulting Group performed a review of the department's IT business needs, while its outsourcing partner CSC conducted a review of the fitness of Immigration's hardware and software infrastructure for current and future requirements.

A review of the department's governance and project management capability was conducted internally, while National Archives Australia reviewed record-keeping and record management infrastructure.