First Code for Victoria projects announced

By David Donaldson

Wednesday August 3, 2016

Victorians will soon have better access to government tender and contract activities, thanks to a collaboration between not-for-profit Code for Australia and the Victorian Government’s Public Sector Innovation Fund.

The state government has announced the first three recipients of its $365,000 Code for Victoria Innovation Challenge, chosen from 39 applications by government agencies to join the program.

Special Minister of State Gavin Jennings chose the following three projects to go ahead:

  • Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning and Parks Victoria: Improving the collection and availability of biodiversity data.
  • Department of Treasury and Finance: Building a transparent and accessible system to better collect, analyse and display Victorian government infrastructure tender and contract activities.
  • Victoria Legal Aid: Streamlining referral services to connect Victorians to the legal support they need.

Jennings launched the challenge earlier this year, in which teams, made up of designers, programmers and user-experience experts, spend six months on each project. It follows a pilot fellowship which saw the development of an online family violence intervention order process with the Neighbourhood Justice Centre.

The initiative is part of a broader push to build the capabilities in the public sector so that public servants are equipped to deal with the problems that constantly arise in a world of rapid technological change, says the minister:

“We’re working hard to further develop the capability of Victoria’s public sector workforce. This initiative will bring together our public service and experts from the tech industry to collaborate on solutions to some of government’s most complex problems.”

Code for Victoria demonstrates the potential for collaboration between the digital and government worlds, thinks Alvaro Maz, managing director of Code for Australia:

“We’re really excited to be working with three very diverse departments and challenges, and were overwhelmed by the quality and quantity of applicants. This project shows the opportunity that exists for a strong civic technology ecosystem in Australia, which we’re excited to be building.”

A few months ago the Victorian government hosted its first budget hack, inviting coders to use technology to make the state budget more accessible and transparent to citizens.

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