Husic and McAllister Media Release: NAPLAN online left to fail by DTA

5.00pm | May 23, 2017

 

THE HON ED HUSIC MP

SHADOW MINISTER FOR THE DIGITAL ECONOMY

MEMBER FOR CHIFLEY

 

SENATOR JENNY MCALLISTER

CHAIR, FINANCE AND PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION REFERENCES COMMITTEE

SENATOR FOR NEW SOUTH WALES

 

The Turnbull Government’s crack digital team has confirmed they didn’t lift a finger to fix the NAPLAN online failure.

All Australian states and territories pulled out of NAPLAN online in April, blaming technical glitches and failures – meanwhile the Turnbull Government’s Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) didn’t try to help get the project back on track.

Making matters worse, the DTA admitted the Department of Education didn’t even contact them to ask for help during the development and roll out of NAPLAN online.

These revelations in today’s Senate Estimates hearings confirm the Turnbull Government’s digital transformation agenda is out of control, lacks direction and simply isn’t getting results.

In the first Estimates hearing for new DTA CEO Gavin Slater, it has become apparent that he has a long way to go to prove the agency he leads is a digital workhorse and not a show pony.

The question now is: Why does the government have a digital team that refuses to help when important projects like NAPLAN online fall apart?

The Department of Education must explain why they didn’t involve the Turnbull Government’s digital outfit in such an important public-facing project.

There have been no answers from the Turnbull Government as to how the NAPLAN online project was allowed to fail, what went wrong and what has been done to fix it.

The month before NAPLAN online fell apart the Turnbull Government trumpeted their increase in ICT spending from $6.2 billion to $10 billion.

Millions of students, parents and teachers who won’t get to sit NAPLAN tests online – for fear of questions vanishing from the screen as they try to answer them – must be wondering whether the taxpayer is getting value for money out of that $10 billion.

With the failure of NAPLAN online, the Turnbull Government tech wrecks continue to pile up. They include:

  • the Census failure;
  • the Centrelink robo-debt debacle;
  • the unexplained crashing of the ATO website, with massive loss of data;
  • the overdue and expensive Child Support ICT upgrades and,
  • the inability of the government to deliver on a project to trim down its 1500-plus government websites to one web portal.

No one can escape the Turnbull Government’s tech wrecks. Everyone from welfare recipients, tax agents and child support recipients to students and teachers are punished by their digital failures.

Senator Jenny McAllister asked the DTA’s Nerida O’Loughlin about the NAPLAN failure:

MCALLISTER: Can I ask about NAPLAN I think it was mentioned earlier. It's been reasonably high profile that all the states and territories pulled out of the NAPLAN online trial. Was the DTA involved in the NAPLAN rollout? 

O'LOUGHLIN: No Senator that would be a matter for the Department of Education.

MCALLISTER: … But were you involved at all? Did anyone contact the DTA and say we've got this problem.

O'LOUGHLIN: No Senator.

ENDS

MEDIA CONTACT: ELISHA PEARCE 0404 051 163