The federal government's online services portal Australia.gov.au will add online accounts for citizens as well as smart forms and unified messaging to streamline communication with different agencies.
Australia.gov.au was billed as a one-stop portal for communicating with government, but by just linking to specific agencies the service remains largely cosmetic and will only improve with deeper integration, according to online services branch manager at AGIMO, Peter Alexander.
Alexander said the Internet has become the most popular channel for government services over the past few years and australia.gov.au got a million visitors last month for the first time ever.
“The central theme is convenience and 86 per cent of people want a single site as a starting point,” he said. “We want to reduce the number of Web sites, but there is no intention to go to one Web site only.”
AGIMO is now building online accounts for citizens where they can register and have a personal experience at australia.gov.au.
It will be totally opt-in for personal details, and will allow better integration between government Web sites from other agencies like Centrelink and Medicare.
“We could pre-populate forms and do single sign-on,” Alexander said, adding “smart forms” make it easy to submit queries to government departments.
The government is also building a service directory for all government services and the channels they can be accessed through.
“Say I'm a plumber from Sydney and get information on relevant government services,” he said.
The australia.gov.au redesign went live in march and allows people to browse 800 subjects and search more than 2.5 million federal, state and local government Web pages.
Alexander said the wider online industry, like Amazon, eBay and online banking is driving the AGIMO forward as people begin to expect more from government Web portals.
“People will begin to ask why government online services can't do things others can. People are telling us things we don't know. It's really about content and making it simple.”
AGIMO's roadmap may include business process mapping across agencies making it easier for people to see what services they are using, single sign-on and unified messaging from different agencies.
“If Web 2.0 is collaboration, Web 3.0 is context,” Alexander said. “Online engagement is a huge topic for us and is an opportunity for people to engage in policy formation.”
He said there will be more online consultation around AGIMO's Web portal ambitions.