Announced by The Hon. Michael Keenan MP, Minister for Human Services and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Digital Transformation, the agreement aims to support Australia's goal to become one of the top-three digital governments in the world by 2025, while delivering services that are simple, convenient and easy to use for Australian citizens and businesses.

Under the agreement, all government agencies can access the financial benefits and technologies. For the major agencies that partner with IBM- Department of Human Services (DHS), the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), the Department of Home Affairs (DHA), and the Department of Defence (DOD) – the agreement gives them 'the autonomy and flexibility to change the profile of their technology over the next five years'.

IBM's AI and cloud technology can be used by the agencies to bring more automation and digitization to government services. IBM and the DTA will convene a group made up of government and industry leaders to prioritize the introduction of new technologies to citizen services, which is also expected to help the government re-engineer its platforms to protect and encrypt citizen data against modern cyber threats.

Some of the work that will be done by IBM’s R&D teams in Australia include the engagement of a Melbourne-based research team to accelerate the application of blockchain, AI and quantum computing in government.

Separate units of expert computer engineers and developers will also be based on the Gold Coast and Canberra to work on cyber security solutions for data protection and the application of supercomputing for government services.

IBM will also provide access to ‘Building Digital Capability’ tools and resources to help government keep up with the changing needs within the workplace and continue to raise digital literacy.

The arrangement is effective immediately and will be in place until June 2023.

In early January, the technology company partnered with Danish shipping giant Maersk for the creation of a global trade digitisation solution using blockchain technology, aiming to move all administrative processes and transactions associated with one container shipment to the internet.