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Australia Govt. Year 2000 (Y2K) Preparations

Good progress on Commonwealth Year 2000 (Y2K) Preparations

Release From The Australian Government

The Commonwealth Government's 7th Y2K quarterly report shows significant progress with the Commonwealth ahead of schedule for June, Senator Ian Campbell announced on behalf of Senator Richard Alston, Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts today.

'The level of Y2K compliance of business critical systems reported by Commonwealth departments and agencies has increased from 59 per cent to 81 per cent in the last quarter - six per cent ahead of the Government's target for June,' said Senator Campbell.

'Twenty-six agencies now report that their business critical systems are fully back-online or compliant.'

Today's quarterly report indicates the Commonwealth is well on track to being prepared to deliver its key services seamlessly over 1 January 2000.

'While this is encouraging, we cannot become complacent as some difficult work remains,' said Senator Campbell.

For example, difficulties in obtaining Year 2000 assurances from some suppliers may impact on the ability of departments and agencies to record full compliance.

To minimise the possibility of any unforeseen disruptions, the Commonwealth's focus will move increasingly towards contingency planning, such as allowing for manual information processing should it be required.

The Commonwealth will also concentrate on ensuring the integrity of work to date and maintaining Y2K readiness.

Today's report continues the practice of providing Government information on a detailed agency-by-agency basis and reporting the progress of Government Business Enterprises (GBEs) by portfolio.

State and Territory Governments are also committed to providing regular public disclosures by portfolio, at least every quarter.

'This strong commitment to information disclosure by Australian governments means that government Y2K progress information is now available on a national basis,' said Senator Campbell.

The Government estimates it will spend around $600 million on the Year 2000 problem within Commonwealth agencies. The estimated total expenditure of Australian business on the Year 2000 problem is around $21 billion.

'Australia is widely regarded as well prepared and continues to be ranked alongside the US, UK and Canada as leading the world in Y2K preparedness,' said Senator Campbell.

Y2K - also known as the millennium bug - refers to the fact that the date function of some computer or chip-based systems only recognises the final two digits of the year (eg 98 instead of 1998). This could cause problems in systems which fail to read '00' as 2000 and need to recognise the date to function.

The full report is available online at www.year2000.gov.au (or www.dcita.gov.au, look under 'Year 2000' in Easyfind)

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