According to Professionals Australia, last night’s census debacle highlights that when it comes to government outsourcing of technical capacity, we’ve gone too far.
Professionals Australia CEO, Chris Walton, said “The biggest hacks have been to our government’s technical expertise, not to data security. That’s what drove last night’s calamity.
“The government has outsourced so much, they now don’t even know what they’re buying or if it will do the job. Government hacks to their own expertise has come at a very high price: #Censusfail.”
In the lead up to the census, the ABS dismissed concerns about server capacity by claiming that it could handle 1 million form submissions every hour, which was twice what they had anticipated needing.
“The Government needs to stop de-skilling the public sector, and start making informed decisions when it comes to what it does with taxpayers’ money.”
“Governments are becoming uninformed purchasers on big infrastructure projects, and the census is no different,” Walton said.
“We have long said that the Government needs to stop wasting so much money on poorly managed infrastructure projects, and start supporting technical professionals in the public sector.”
It is estimated that as a result of the lack of technical professionals in the public sector, Australia will waste up to $25 billion on poorly managed infrastructure projects.
Some of the world’s foremost data experts have weighed in on the failure, saying that the most likely explanation is that the ABS was just not being properly prepared.
The new census solution cost over $9.6 million and was outsourced to IBM. The ultimate cost of last night’s failure is likely to be many times more than that.
David Kalisch, the ABS chief statistician, told ABC news radio this morning that the site was shut down last night to “protect the integrity of the data” as a result of four ‘distributed denial of service’ attacks from overseas. Even before the site was taken down at 7:45pm AEST, there were load issues, with outages starting at around 11am AEST, and the census phone lines had similar load issues days in advance.
Without support for technical professionals in the public sector, wastage of taxpayer’s money on infrastructure will likely continue.
Media contact: Jack Herbert 0405 584 567