On 22nd July 2016, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Australian government released the Public Sector Data Management Implementation Report. This was an update to the Public Sector Data Management Report published in December 2015, which studied how public sector data helps the government with better service delivery and efficiencies and laid out a roadmap for the project implementation.
Following up on a conversation in February 2016, OpenGov spoke again to Helen Owens, Principal Advisor Public Data Policy. She is responsible for providing whole of government policy advice on the Australian Government’s public data strategy, data infrastructure, data in the economy, and digital government strategy.
The Public Sector Data Management Project Implementation Report was published this month. Several milestones have been passed and significant progress made on others. Going forward, which will be the highest priority areas in the short to medium term?
The upcoming six to twelve months look to be exciting as we finalise the recommendations of the Public Sector Data Management Report. My team, the Public Data Branch, within the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (PM&C) will be concentrating on the following key priorities:
- Transforming data.gov.au – we are working with Data61 to expand the existing data.gov.au and NationalMap infrastructure to maximise the discoverability and reuse of high-value open data by streamlining the publishing of data, improving data quality and enabling better search and discovery mechanisms.
- Continuing public-private partnerships – we will commence work on the Australian Government’s commitment to expanding the DataStart initiative to provide more opportunities for the private sector and start-ups to collaborate, test their ideas and partner with government.
- Supporting the release of more high-value data – we will collaborate with the private, academic, and research and community sectors to develop a High-Value Dataset Framework to assist entities and data custodians to identify high-value datasets for priority release in line with the Public Data Policy Statement.
- Improving data skills and capability – we are also working towards releasing the Australian Public Service (APS) Data Skills and Capability Framework, designed to improve data literacy and analytics skills across the APS to facilitate smarter policy develop, better service delivery and more efficient programme management.
As the implementation moves ahead, is there any need for adjustments or tweaks to the original strategy?
In the rapidly evolving environment of public data, we’re always looking at opportunities for improvement and willing to listen and adjust our approaches. For example, the release of the Public Data Policy Statement in December 2015 meant that my team increased engagement with Australian Government entities to assist them to meet their responsibilities under the Public Data Policy Statement.
There are a few significant bodies of work by other government entities in the public data space under way that will shape our path forward.
The Council of Australian Governments has agreed to pursue initiatives that will enhance transparency by providing Australian citizens with a greater level of real time data on how government money is spent and on the outcomes and performance of government initiatives. We’ll work with government entities to support this body of work by increasing the quality and quantity of public data to support transparency and accountability.
The Productivity Commission is currently undertaking an inquiry into Data Availability and Use, providing an opportunity to assess the impact of data policies and initiatives to date, and identify the barriers and challenges going forward. In response to the Productivity Commission’s issues paper, PM&C made a submission which is published on the Productivity Commission’s website. The Commission is scheduled to release its final report in March 2017 which will inform future priorities to progress further public data outcomes.
There is a lot of focus on inter-agency collaboration and projects, such as the seven high-value projects. Could you please give us a broad picture of how such collaboration is planned and executed? How are possible issues such as discrepancies in processes and conflicts with existing arrangements resolved and progress monitored?
As a central agency, PM&C has a whole-of-government view on the various data-related projects and initiatives across Commonwealth entities. My team works collaboratively with many entities to ensure processes and projects align broadly with the public data agenda and to avoid duplication of effort.
Seven inter-agency and cross-jurisdictional exemplar projects have been commissioned to demonstrate the value of public data, uncover barriers to use and enable better designed policies and services. They are designed to serve as proof-of-concept pilots to help build momentum and capability in the use of data. Lead entities have been nominated to drive each of the projects, reporting back to the Deputy Secretaries Data Group. Through these projects we are uncovering and addressing the barriers to greater use and re-use of our data.
The streamlining of data-related APS committee structures has greatly benefited data governance and allowed for deeper inter-agency collaboration. The Secretaries Data Group and Deputy Secretaries Data Group provide governance for public data initiatives across Australian Government entities, including providing advice and resolving any issues in relation to the delivery of the cross-jurisdictional projects.
In addition, the Data Champions network is a group of senior Commonwealth officials whose responsibility it is to promote the use, sharing and reuse of data across entities. They are a central contact point for data-related issues for their agency and further support close collaboration between entities.
A number of frameworks have been released or are going to be released at both the state and national levels, such as the Guide to big data and the Australian Privacy Principles, Charging for Data Services Information Sheet, Framework for High-Value Data, APS Data Skills and Capability Framework and many more. How will these frameworks be translated into specific policies and actionable guidelines?
The frameworks coordinated by PM&C are the Framework for High-Value Data and the APS Data Skills and Capability Framework, which are both recommendations from the Public Sector Data Management Report.
The Framework for High-Value Data will assist entities and data custodians to meet their responsibilities under the Public Data Policy Statement through collaboration with the private, research and academic sectors to extend the value of public data, and identifying high-value datasets for priority release.
We are working to prioritise the release of ‘high-value’ data due to the potential value and outcomes for the private and research sectors, as well as government. One example is the Geocoded National Address File (G-NAF). Since its release in February 2016, it has been downloaded over 1,500 times (as at 9 August 2016), and been used in innovative projects such as the NRMA Insurance Safer Homes initiative (provides risk levels associated with various threats to residential property at a specific address) and Mappify.io (Free geocoding, reverse geocoding and coordinate classification service).
My team has also developed the APS Data Skills and Capability Framework through collaboration with the private and research sectors and other Australian Government entities such as the APSC. This holistic approach to improve overall data literacy and skills will facilitate smarter policy development, better service delivery, and more efficient programme management, which will have flow-on benefits for all Australians.
My team also works closely with other Australian Government entities and provides input on relevant guidelines and frameworks that inform the public data agenda. The Charging for Data Services Information Sheet was released by the Department of Finance in December 2015, and outlines the Australian Government Charging Framework. This is designed to support data-driven innovation by improving data take-up rates and reducing price barriers that deter the wider use of data.
In addition, the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner consulted us on the development of their draft Guide to Big Data and the Australian Privacy Principles.
As demonstrated by the Public Sector Data Management Implementation Report, we’re continually monitoring the progress and outcomes of these frameworks and guidelines. My team will continue to work with entities across Government to translate and integrate these frameworks and policy documents into entities’ best practices, policies and actionable guidelines.
Can you share your thoughts on the role played by organisations such as Data61 and also by public-private partnerships in the Australian government’s ICT and public data strategy?
Public-private partnerships play a key role in the delivery of the public data strategy. Both sectors can share knowledge and facilitate innovation.
Our DataStart initiative is just one great example of the power of public-private partnerships. Delivered by my team in late 2015-early 2016, the pilot DataStart initiative aimed to give Australian startups new opportunities to develop sustainable businesses through access to public data. This was a great example of startups, incubators, the corporate sector and the government working together to deliver data-driven innovation.
Over 200 applications were received to the DataStart pilot, with cohortIQ announced as the winner in January 2016. cohortIQ is a health startup that uses hospital and open public data to reduce the estimated 235,000 avoidable hospital admissions each year. Other shortlisted teams also demonstrated fantastically innovative solutions to economic, social and environmental issues using public data, that they received prizes independently funded by the private sector.
Data61 has an important role in the Australian Government’s public data agenda. The Government is investing $75 million in Data61 to capitalise on the data revolution, and to ensure Australia maintains a world-leading data science capability. We work hand in hand with Data61 to deliver the public data policy agenda and the capability that they bring to the table is, in my view, world leading.
Data.gov.au is the whole-of-government data catalogue. There are several initiatives, such as Multi-Agency Data Integration Project, virtual DataLab and Data linkage projects. How do these all connect? And what is the timeline for getting the most valuable datasets onto Data.gov.au?
Data.gov.au provides an easy way for everyone to find and access public data, and allows for information to be use in a variety of ways. There are over 9,400 datasets available via data.gov.au, with over 4,900 API enabled resources (as of 8 August 2016).
We’ve worked hard to make a number of high-value data sets already available on data.gov.au, including the:
- Department of Health’s release of a linkable 10% de-identified sample of the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS)and Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS)
- The Geocoded National Address File (G-NAF) – Australia’s authoritative address file compiled by PSMA Australia Limited
- Intellectual Property Government Open Live Data – a weekly release of intellectual property information
- Australian Securities and Investments Commission’s registers – auditors, financial services authorised representatives, financial services licensees, licensed liquidators, credit licensees and credit representatives
- Australian Taxation Office’s corporate tax transparency data
- Publicly funded research data created as a result of the Bioregional Assessments Programme
We’ll be continuing to work with all levels of Government to make appropriately anonymised, de-personalised high-value public data openly available via data.gov.au.
Where the data can be appropriately de-identified and anonymised, data generated from initiatives such as MADIP (a collaborative cross-portfolio partnership lead by the ABS to improve accessibility to, and maximise use of, public data), DataLab (A secure and safe (remote and onsite) computer environment in which researchers can analyse de-identified data using their choice of software package, e.g. SAS, SPSS, etc.)and other data linkage projects will be made openly available on data.gov.au to help deliver high-value social, environmental and economic outcomes for government, industry and community sectors.
In our work with Data61 to expand the existing data.gov.au and NationalMap infrastructure the technological outcomes and lessons learned from initiatives such as the MADIP will be incorporated into the transformation of the data.gov.au platform.
We read about a tiered program to build data and analytics capability. Can you tell us about the different approaches to and levels of training and developing data capability?
This is something I’m really excited about. While there are pockets of excellence within the APS with the required level of data analytics skills, there has previously been a lack of an overarching strategy to drive the coordination of data skills. This isn’t an issue unique to the APS; there is a global undersupply of data analytics skills.
The APS Data Skills and Capability Framework has been designed to improve data literacy at all skill levels throughout the APS. The Framework consists of four key components that form a tiered approach to skills and capability development.
The base tier is an APS Data Literacy Programme, to provide ongoing learning and development resources to improve general data skills and literacy across the APS. This programme targets basic data literacy levels and is suitable for all non-specialist APS officers, as data literacy is increasingly being recognised as an essential core skill.
The middle tier of the Framework consists of tertiary level university degrees and short courses to target more specialised data literacy. These opportunities focus on technical skills for APS officers that are required to interrogate and manipulate data in their job roles.
The top tier is the Data Fellowship Programme, an exclusive and competitive Programme that provides advanced data training to data specialists. Participants will get the opportunity to complete a three month placement in an organisation such as Data61, that has world leading expertise in research, engineering and technology development.
We expect to launch the APS Data Skills and Capability Framework soon.
Privacy-by-design appears to be the accepted approach to balance the need for information sharing with protecting privacy. Could you help us understand what the approach entails in practice in view of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet?
Privacy and security concerns are paramount as we work to further the public data agenda, and our privacy-by-design approach informs the initiatives under way across Government to enhance privacy and security protections:
- The Public Data Policy Statement requires Australian Government entities to “uphold the highest standards of security and privacy for the individual, national security and commercial confidentiality.”
- In early 2016, the Attorney General’s Department consulted on a proposed Privacy Amendment (Notification of Serious Data Breaches)Bill 2015, which will mandate data breach notifications for organisations covered by the Privacy Act
- Through its inquiry on Data Availability and Use, the Productivity Commission is considering how to preserve individual privacy and control
- The ABS is adopting international best practice and establishing a trusted-access model for sharing integrated data; and the OAIC has developed guidelines on sharing and integrating data to ensure the highest standards of security and privacy are met when data is made openly available
Technology also has a role in alleviating privacy and security concerns. Data61 is developing technological solutions that enable the effective use of data with appropriate privacy and confidentiality safeguards such as confidential computing (insights from data without seeing the data) and synthetic data generation (production data applicable to a situation that are not obtained by direct measurement). These technologies will add extra layers of protection for valuable personal data and assist in preserving confidentiality.
Australian government’s public data strategy is forward-facing and ambitious in scope. What is your vision of the Australian public service and economy in 5-10 years in the future in terms of data usage and digital transformation?
As we all know, the pace of technological advance is rapid, and the volume of data is increasing exponentially. In the next five to ten years, I hope that Australians are receiving the direct benefits of using data to inform better decision-making, improving efficiencies and driving innovation across all sectors in Australia.
My vision is for Australia to be realising as much value from data as possible – in 2014, PwC Australia estimated a $48 billion in potential value from data-driven innovation that was not yet realised. I would like to see new data-driven businesses such as CohortIQ and Mezo Research thriving as a result of initiatives like DataStart, and continuing to demonstrate the potential benefit of data-driven innovation to substantially impact economic growth.
For government and the APS, I hope that the government will be an exemplar in this space, and that data is being used to underpin all key government practices, whether in service delivery, policy development or programme evaluation. The Public Data Policy Statement will bring the long term transformational change in Commonwealth entities’ cultures and attitudes to the use and accessibility of public data, while improving the quality and quantity of public data available.
Over the next three years, it is the aim that all appropriately de-identified, anonymised public data is available through data.gov.au, and publishing public data is standard business practice within government. The development of the data.gov.au infrastructure to bring together open data from all jurisdictions, governments and entities, and to provide a seamless experience for search, discovery and analysis will be an important milestone in delivering the public data strategy.
We’re working hard to deliver these ambitious outcomes for the benefit of all Australians. Visit the PM&C website, www.dpmc.gov.au and data.gov.au for updates and more information as we continue to progress and achieve public data outcomes.
The Victoria University of Wellington’s division of Science, Health, Engineering, Architecture, and Design Innovation (SHEADI) will inaugurate a Centre of Data Science and Artificial Intelligence in the first half of 2023.
According to a statement from the University, the centre will offer areas of expertise in modelling and statistical learning; evolutionary and multi-objective learning; deep learning and transfer learning; image, text, signal, and language processing; scheduling and combinational optimisation; and interpretable AI/ML learning.
These technological themes will be applied across a wide range of areas including primary industry, climate change and environment; health, biology, medical outcomes; security, energy, high-value manufacturing; and social, public policy, and ethics applications. On top of traditional research, the centre will also establish a pipeline of scholarships/internships for Maori students, train early career researchers, and focus on industry, intellectual property, and commercialisation.
The centre will build on the current success and international leadership in this space at the University, the Pro Vice-Chancellor of the division, Ehsan Mesbahi, stated. The institute is continuing to grow its national and international partnerships to create local and global value. The centre will provide a distinctive identity for the growing excellence and innovation in data science and AI research at the University, capabilities which domestic and global partners are increasingly demanding across a vast array of application domains.
In May, the University announced it would offer the first undergraduate major in Artificial Intelligence in the country. It provides students with knowledge of AI concepts, techniques, and tools. They learn how to apply that knowledge to solve problems, combined with programming skills that will enable them to build software tools incorporating AI technology that will help shape the future.
Students studying AI at the University are taught by academics from its internationally renowned AI/ML research group, which is one of the largest in the southern hemisphere. The major is designed to open doors for graduates to opportunities nationally and around the world. There has been an increase in the adoption of AI technologies globally, and a growing demand for people who can apply AI techniques to address a wide range of problems, which the University aims to address.
After completing their degree, graduates will have a wide variety of career options, such as AI scientist, business consultant, AI architect, data analyst, machine learning engineer, and robotic scientist among others. They will also have the option to further their study through the University’s Master of Artificial Intelligence.
OpenGov Asia reported earlier that New Zealand’s Education Technology (EdTech) is set to become one of the country’s key industries. Worth NZ$ 173.6 million in 2020, EdTech software is poised to grow to NZ$ 319.6 million by 2025. At the heart of the digital transformation of education technology has been the pandemic. COVID-19 is seen as the driving force behind the digital transformation of learning, permanently changing the way education is consumed and delivered — right from preschool through post-tertiary education and lifelong learning. The global EdTech market size was valued at US$ 254.8 billion in 2021. Experts believe the market will reach US$ 605.4 billion by 2027.
Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) in education have the potential to enhance how education is provided, financed, and managed as well as offer easier access to the community.
A PPP system operates under the construct that market mechanisms, in conjunction with government inputs, are better for providing education. One of the rationales behind PPPs, which are supported by international organisations, development agencies and academics, is that competition between public and private education providers is a good way to improve the quality and efficiency of education.
PPP policy frameworks should therefore create real market dynamics in which education service providers continue to innovate and improve the quality of their services to attract learners, young and old, who are seen as benefit maximisers and well-informed consumers.
New Era of Partnerships, Building Talent Pipeline
“The structure and framework for any university to launch degree programmes can be fairly onerous, given the emphasis on quality assurance and relevance,” says Annie who is also a Professor Emeritus of Finance (Practice), Lee Kong Chian School of Business and Senior Advisor at the Business Families Institute in Singapore Management University (SMU).
However, academic-industry partnerships play a crucial role in building the future of students and facilitating the transition of young people from school to work. Students need to be exposed to a variety of jobs and workplaces to develop interest and discover where their studies and passion may lead.
Industry partnerships with different sectors offer a variety of experiences, such as simulated job interviews, career development activities, challenge-based learning projects, curriculum-aligned activities, and work-study programmes. In addition, internships have become a vital opportunity for candidates to distinguish themselves prior to full-time employment.
A PPP is mutually beneficial, allowing industry access to fresh talent and looking at the industry’s challenges from the perspective of future consumers or employees acknowledges Annie. In fact, the private sector has indicated to all institutions that they need future talent in the area of data analytics, so SMU has recently launched a track in data analytics hosted in both their business school and computer and info systems school so universities also benefit from the insights from the industry to stay relevant in our curricula.
With the help of data analytics tools, a company may take unstructured raw data and use this information to discover patterns, draw conclusions and turned into useful insights. Therefore, data analysis aids businesses in so many ways, including making educated judgments, developing a more successful marketing plan, enhancing the customer experience and streamlining processes.
Education is not only under the charge of the Ministry of Education but also needs the support of other ministries since future jobs and capacity building are expected of the Ministries of Trade and Industry, Finance, Maritime, Health and others. Partnering with the whole of government allows for students’ skillsets to be increased and all students become more relevant, valuable and workplace ready.
Prof Annie knows that no one has a monopoly on knowledge, and no one knows the exact skills which will be needed in the future. Thus, PPPs have the most value when it forms a part of “lifelong learning.”
The exciting thing about lifelong learning, Annie believes “…is that when you get your degree, you think you’re done, but you’re just getting started. Even as you gain experience and learn on the job, you’ll need to keep reinventing yourself and the skills needed to extend your runway will keep changing.”
Passion extends beyond degrees and ongoing learning is a crucial element to keep employees engaged That’s why higher education now permits a variety of pathways to marry passion with career aspirations and is no longer a paper chase, she explains.
Two good cases to illustrate the value of PPP in the context of SMU’s innovative programmes that Prof Annie is very proud of are the partnership approach in launching the International Trading track and the Maritime Business Operations track under the Finance and Operations majors in SMU’s business school.
In accordance with the creation of a strong Singaporean core, wholesale trade and maritime businesses have been focusing on both skillset development and attracting new talent supply to ensure a pipeline of sustainable human capital. So, the trading and maritime sectors do need to build a case for making the jobs in their sectors more appealing – particularly with the assistance of government grants and scholarships.
Companies can play a crucial role by showing how an organisation can provide a feeling of purpose with support and development opportunities available to make building a career in their organisations appealing and attractive to the candidate
A part of Annie’s challenge in the early days was to set up an International Trading Institute (ITI) where students could take for-credit classes under the business school and get a certificate of completion for the non-credit practice-oriented sessions, learning from practitioners in the evenings.
“My goal at SMU is to link external relevance to internal degree requirements while upholding the quality assurance requirements of the education system. Different industry partners help us with this mission to co-create and deliver the applied learning content with us.”
SMU is therefore a strategic asset for the country and both the tracks had, over the last decade, created a pool of more than 300 alumni who are knowledgeable about wholesale trading, largely in the commodities trading space and maritime operations. Now, there is available talent who are able to speak and work with more confidence up and down the trade value chain and contribute to Singapore’s relevance as a trade and maritime hub.
Another great example of PPP was manifested during the last three years of the COVID-19 crisis which saw a spate of job cuts and many experienced PMETs were laid off. Annie worked with her teams at ITI and BFI to design a nine-month Business and Digital Transformation programme which combined in-class training modules with a capstone project for candidates who are matched to SMEs to also deliver a project for these sponsoring companies. Candidates have a chance to learn and apply the knowledge and sponsoring companies also benefit from the capstone projects delivered. In addition, 70% to 90% of the programme fees are supported by SSG grants, while WSG grants provide funding support towards the candidates’ commensurate salaries.
All these partnerships were possible because a pool of companies is available and can be accessed to match the candidates as a result of SMU’s external network of trusted companies, which was strengthened by the BFI that Annie had set up 10 years ago with the support of SMU’s senior leadership. Many of Asia’s SMEs are family owned with different sets of challenges and aspirations other than the usual business issues. In addition, many of these business families have longer horizons and they are the ones that countries depend on to build businesses sustainably as they think beyond current generations.
Therefore, business families with an entrepreneurial spirit, not only make money but also contribute to changing the world through their businesses and other new ventures, including building social enterprises and philanthropic activities.
By addressing business family-specific issues such as succession, family governance, entrepreneurship and wealth management, BFI aims to strengthen the ecosystem of entrepreneurial business families and stakeholders in their creation of sustainable impact by leveraging SMU’s core competence as a thought leader. In turn, BFI has been a strong partner to the LKYGBPC. Many of LKYGBPC’s sponsors are family-owned businesses, such as Wilmar International and Frasers.
In addition, many of these family enterprises have footprints beyond Singapore and are always on the lookout for quality start-ups to invest in or be part of their accelerator programmes. Innovation is essential for a company to improve its operations, introduce new and enhanced products and services to the market, raise its efficiency, and most crucially, boost its profitability.
Annie feels that her journey in academia is more about building entrepreneurship and Technology, Talent and Trust (3Ts) are important drivers in helping companies in their transformation journeys. As such, public-private-people partnerships are even more relevant in today’s challenging and uncertain times to build back better and broader for everyone.
According to Annie, the road to digital and business transformation success is paved with courageous actions by caring and forward-looking leaders. The right leaders will build a firm sustainably and attract the right people, the right leaders will inspire and motivate the right people to learn, improve and grow.
“Developing people is my calling but learning to develop people is everyone’s responsibility. And because the world is bigger than yourself, you need to be big-hearted, purpose-oriented, and have an open mind to be successful on any path you choose,” Annie concludes.
Cleveland train users will be the next to benefit as the rollout of the Smart Ticketing system continues. Customers travelling from Central station and Cleveland station will have access to the system from 30 November 2022. Queensland’s Minister for Transport and Main Roads stated that the AU$ 371 million project continued to gather pace, with Cleveland line customers now having more ways to pay.
He said that delivering better public transport services for Queenslanders is not just about acquiring more trains or buses but about making it easier for people to use the trains without barriers. This trial allows adult customers to use their credit card, debit card, smartphone, or smartwatch to pay for their train journey – meaning you do not need to think before hopping on a train, you can just tap and go.
The Member for Capalaba stated that the system would put Queensland on par with major cities like London, Singapore, and New York. He said that record levels of investment in the region mean that commuters can get home safer and sooner, spending more time with family and friends.
Meanwhile, the Member for Lytton encouraged commuters to use the new system. She said that there is no doubt this trial is proving to be immensely popular with public transport users. She looks forward to seeing the rollout extend onto local buses, which is set to take place next year.
The project will replace 1300 fixed devices and 12,000 onboard readers to bring 18 different payment systems across the regional bus network together under one Smart Ticketing umbrella. Whether commuters are visiting family and friends in Cairns, Bowen, Rockhampton or Bundaberg, there will be one seamless way to pay.
The Member for Bulimba praised the success of the trial, which had already clocked up more than two million trips. She said that commuters and tourists alike are finding it easy to use, and we’ve seen incredible numbers tap on and off using the system since it began.
The region will continue to develop the system to bring concession card holders onboard while also encouraging those who travel at a discounted rate to continue using the go card for the time being.
The Member for Greenslopes noted that the expansion added new destinations to the Smart Ticketing map, adding that this is another crucial step toward rolling out the system across the South East Queensland heavy rail network, following on from trials already underway.
Next, the South Brisbane and South Bank transport hubs will begin the rollout of the Smart Ticketing system. This will connect the area to the hospital and health precinct as well as South Bank businesses.
Smart Ticketing is already operational on the Ferny Grove, Ipswich/Rosewood, Springfield Central, Sunshine Coast/Caboolture, Redcliffe Peninsula, Doomben and Shorncliffe train lines. Next, it will launch at the Airport, Beenleigh, and Gold Coast lines, enabling customers to interconnect from the Gold Coast Light Rail through to Brisbane CBD and the airport, with buses and ferries set to follow next year.
Train users who prefer to pay with their go card will be able to continue doing so. Customers travelling on a child or concession fare should continue to use their go card for now, as should customers travelling to or from destinations not yet using the trial, or anyone using a connecting bus or ferry service.
What is smart ticketing?
Smart Ticketing is an innovative ticketing technology that enables more ways to pay for public transport across Queensland. Over time, more Queenslanders will be able to pay for travel with contactless payment methods using a Visa, Mastercard and American Express debit card, credit card, smartphone, or smart device. As a long-term project, the aim is to have more Queenslanders tap on and off to conveniently pay for everyday travel on train, tram, bus, and ferry.
The Second Minister for Trade and Industry, Tan See Leng, and the Republic of Korea (RoK) Minister for Trade, Dukgeun Ahn, have signed the Korea-Singapore Digital Partnership Agreement (KSDPA).
Under the agreement, the two sides will work to establish digital trade rules and norms to promote interoperability between digital systems. This will enable more seamless cross-border data flows and build a trusted and secure digital environment for businesses and consumers. A government press release wrote that KSDPA will also deepen bilateral cooperation in new emerging areas such as personal data protection, e-payments, artificial intelligence, and source code protection.
The Ministers also signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on Implementing the Korea-Singapore Digital Economy Dialogue, which will act as a platform to promote digital economy collaboration between industry players and academic experts from both sides. The MoU is part of bilateral efforts to develop cooperative projects to implement the KSDPA. Key features of the KSDPA include:
Facilitating end-to-end digital trade
Electronic Payments (e-payments): The two sides will adopt transparent and facilitative rules (e.g. encouraging open Application Programming Interfaces (APIs)) to promote secure cross-border e-payments.
Paperless Trading: Singapore and RoK will accept electronic versions of trade administration documents to support the digitalisation and seamless exchange of key commercial documents.
Open Government Data: Both countries will ensure that government data will be publicly available in a machine-readable and open format, with easy-to-use and freely available APIs.
Enabling trusted data flows
Cross-border Data Flows (including for financial services): Businesses in Singapore and RoK will be allowed to transfer information, including those which are generated or held by financial institutions, across borders if the requisite regulations are met and with adequate personal data protection safeguards in place.
Prohibiting Data Localisation: The two nations will establish rules against data localisation requirements so that businesses can choose where their data is stored and processed, and their cloud technology of choice.
Facilitate trust in digital systems and participation in the Digital Economy
Artificial Intelligence (AI): The countries will promote the adoption of AI governance and ethical frameworks that support the trusted, safe, and responsible use of AI-based technologies.
Cryptography: Neither country will require the transfer of or access to private keys and related technologies, as a condition of market access.
Source Code Protection: To ensure software developers can trust the market within which they operate and ensure that source code is protected, neither country will require the transfer of, or access to, source code as a condition of market access. This includes the algorithm expressed in the source code.
Online Consumer Protection: The two sides will adopt laws that guard against fraudulent or deceptive conduct that causes harm to consumers engaged in online commercial activities.
Small and Medium Enterprises Cooperation: Singapore and RoK will promote jobs and growth for SMEs. They will also encourage their participation in platforms that help link them with international suppliers, buyers, and other potential business partners.
Digital Identities: The countries will promote interoperability of digital identity regimes, which can lead to reliable identity verification and the faster processing of applications. This will enable businesses and consumers to navigate the digital economy with ease and security.
Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTP) and an IT service management company jointly launched the “Idea Launcher” co-ideation initiative to foster and accelerate innovation and technology (I&T) development in Hong Kong through extensive support, mentoring and coaching to help early-stage start-ups nurture innovative ideas and research projects.
The project is another addition to HKTSP’s co-incubation mission with sector leaders, with the Idea Launcher being the first partnership with a corporate leader under HKSTP’s IDEATION Programme. The IT service management company collaborate closely with HKSTP to specifically support the development of early-stage ideas from emerging start-ups and next-generation entrepreneurs.
The Idea Launcher continues the strategic collaboration that the two parties began earlier this year, covering the four key pillars of Research & Development, Technology Simulation, Co-incubation, and Talent and Culture Cultivation. It is a six-month co-ideation initiative that provides early-stage start-ups and entrepreneurs with technical training, business consulting, capabilities assessment as well as project feasibility to optimise start-up solutions and concepts.
HKSTP will offer HK$ 100,000 in seed funding and incubation training to selected start-ups, while the IT service management company will provide tailor-made AWS innovation culture workshops to help start-ups build up their innovation capacity. Programme participants will also receive up to US$ 25,000 in the IT service management company’s cloud resources, as well as technical support and training through their Program, set up especially to help start-ups optimise their business models and fuel future development.
The Head of Business Development at the IT service management company’s Hong Kong and Macau branch stated that with its established start-up ecosystems and investment development teams in Hong Kong and beyond, the firm gathers talent with investment institution backgrounds and entrepreneurial experience that is geared to supporting start-ups throughout their growth cycle. He noted that the company looks forward to deepening its partnership with HKSTP to advance local start-ups and propel Hong Kong on its journey to international I&T hub status.
The Chief Corporate Development Officer of HKSTP stated in partnering with one of the world’s largest and most iconic start-ups, HKSTP is ready to elevate Hong Kong’s talented entrepreneurs onto the global stage.
About the IDEATION programme
The IDEATION programme was launched by HKSTP in 2019, furthering its support for early-stage research and development projects and innovative ideas. Well-received in the start-up community, the number of participating members and teams in the programme has more than tripled from 60 to over 230.
Start-ups will receive help turning realising their ideas and beginning their entrepreneurial journeys with the Ideation Programme – an up to one-year start-up support programme for tech-focused entrepreneurs. Through the programme, participants can develop the fundamental skills they need to kickstart their businesses. All-round support will be provided from designing a business model to finding investment. Participants will receive guidance along every step of the way, to fine-tune their ideas for technical development.
The programme provides seed funding in the form of a grant worth up to HK$ 100,000; a mentor for business advice; training on a variety of topics including Hong Kong’s start-up ecosystem, business modelling, pitching and investment, and more; access to centre facilities like co-working spaces (subject to availability), and potential to bridging programmes which means participants will be prepared for admission into other HKSTP incubation programmes.
Singapore and the United Kingdom held the 7th UK Singapore Financial Dialogue, where they renewed their commitment to deepening their financial partnership, which was agreed upon in 2021. They also discussed sustainable finance, fintech, and innovation.
The two sides signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on the UK-Singapore FinTech Bridge, which is based on an agreement signed in 2016, which removes barriers to fintech trade by opening new regular talks between regulators and businesses. The FinTech Bridge will build on the active interest of fintech players in the areas of payments, regulatory technology, and wealth management. It will also provide a structured engagement that will aid the development of policy actions, enhance assessments of emerging issues, such as the development of distributed ledger technologies and data sharing, and support trade and investment flow between respective markets.
According to a press release, the countries recognised the importance of the UK-Singapore Digital Economy Agreement (DEA), which was signed earlier this year. They exchanged views on recent developments in the fintech sector, including advancements in crypto-assets, and agreed on priority areas for further cooperation. They shared their latest assessments of market developments, opportunities, trends, and longer-term expectations for the crypto-assets sector.
Further, the risks and challenges relating to financial stability and regulatory arbitrage were discussed. They shared their progress in strengthening rules on consumer protection and developing the regulation of stablecoins. Both sides agreed there is a strong need to support the safe development of a digital assets ecosystem while ensuring that risks posed by digital assets are consistently managed.
They will continue to actively participate in the shaping of robust global regulatory practices through engagement within international multilateral fora such as the Financial Stability Board (FSB), the Committee on Payments and Market Infrastructures (CPMI), and the International Organisation of Securities Commissions (IOSCO).
Regarding digital payments, Singapore provided updates on the progress of its review of e-wallet caps and the expected next steps. The event covered the recently released consultation, with the UK providing views on the key proposals. Singapore also updated on the new digital banks that recently launched their operations in Singapore.
Moreover, the sides have agreed to a roadmap for activities in sustainable finance, fintech and innovation, and other areas of mutual interest, leading up to the next Dialogue scheduled to take place in London in 2023.
The Financial Dialogue was co-chaired by the Deputy Managing Director (Markets and Development) of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), Leong Sing Chiong, and the Director General (Financial Services) of HM Treasury (HMT), Gwyneth Nurse.
Two industry-led UK-Singapore business roundtables on sustainable finance and FinTech took place on 24 November 2022. Industry participants from both countries participated in this discussion. The sustainable finance Roundtable examined the implementation challenges faced by corporates in meeting their net zero targets, and how the financial industry could help to address these challenges. The FinTech Roundtable discussed the opportunities and challenges faced by FinTech firms, and how these firms could better access overseas markets, including by partnering with financial institutions.
The Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), Rajeev Chandrasekhar, has inaugurated a Digital India start-up hub at the Software Technology Parks of India (STPI) centre in Davanagere, Karnataka. According to a press release, this is the 63rd STPI centre in the country and the fifth in the state of Karnataka. STPIs are autonomous bodies under MeitY, established to encourage, promote, and boost software exports from India. They fuel a culture of tech entrepreneurship and innovation in the country.
The state government had provided 10,000 square feet of built-up space in the Karnataka State Open University (KSOU) Regional Centre to establish the STPI. Among other facilities, the centre has a plug-n-play 102-seater incubation facility, network operations centre (NOC), 16-seater conference room, 32-seater cafeteria and provisions for high-speed data communication facilities, and other amenities for export of software and services.
Speaking at the event, Chandrasekhar said that STPI, Davangere will usher in new opportunities for jobs and entrepreneurship for the people in the region. Over the past few years, the government’s emphasis has been on the growth of information technology (IT), IT-enabled services (ITeS), and the electronic system design and manufacturing (ESDM) industries in newer cities. This should not be confined to the metropolitan centres, he noted.
STPI centres across the state have IT exports of US $35 billion while just Karnataka state exports more than US $70 billion each year. India has the fastest-growing innovation system with more than 80,000 start-ups and over 107 unicorns, Chandrasekhar said. “We have assumed the presidency of the G20, a league of [the] world’s largest economies, and the GPAI an international initiative on artificial intelligence. It is the fastest growing major economy that has surpassed the UK to emerge as [the] fifth largest economy, receiving its highest ever FDIs of US $83 billion,” he explained.
India aims to transform its electronics production sector into a US $300 billion electronics manufacturing powerhouse by 2026. In August, Chandrasekhar launched a report that detailed how India can achieve this electronics production target and an export target of US $120 billion over the next few years. The report is titled, ‘Globalise to Localise: Exporting at Scale and Deepening the Ecosystem are Vital to Higher Domestic Value Addition’. It was prepared by the India Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER), in collaboration with the India Cellular and Electronics Association (ICEA).
As OpenGov Asia reported, to achieve its targets, the government has emphasised strengthening the country’s domestic manufacturing ecosystem to make it more resilient to supply chain disruptions. The aim is to emerge as a reliable and trusted partner in global value chains. The report postulates that the country must export aggressively to reach the scale in electronics manufacturing. “In addition to domestic production, and supplies and domestic consumption, the exports are [an] important way to get the scales of the other economies that are competing with us,” Chandrasekhar said. Exports will create a network effect of creating supply chain interests, and supply chain investments that in turn will increase value addition in the Indian electronics segment.