Research by Unisys suggests Australians are much more willing to deal with governments through digital channels then they were two years ago.

And interestingly, many Australian citizens believe government departments already share data on them, according to the research.

The Unisys Connected Government Survey, to be released tomorrow, found that 49 per cent of Australians prefer to access government services via their desktop, tablet or smartphone. That number is a big jump from the 29 per cent rate in 2016.

However, Australia still sits in the middle of the pack of the other countries surveyed when it comes to online preference of government services, trailing Singapore and New Zealand, but ahead of Malaysia and the Philippines.

The types of channels consumer want to use depends on the type of transaction, according to the report. For example, citizens are happy to go online for information on public services or to file a tax return, but prefer face to face interaction for things like licence and passport renewal.

The insights on transaction preferences are particularly important for digital government initiatives and understanding the customer journey, according to Lysandra Schmutter, vice president, Public Sector, Unisys Asia Pacific.

“The Connected Government research reveals that citizens indeed want to engage with government in different ways depending on the objective of the interaction – and these needs must be taken into account when designing digital strategies for government agencies,” Schmutter said.

According to the report, when Australians do go online for government services, 63 per cent want a single government app while only 41 per cent said they would download individual apps for each government department.

Big Brother is Sharing You

Four out of five Australian citizens believe their government is already sharing their data among government departments, according to the Unisys research.

And while government departments do share data, it is currently a slow and limited process. So much so that the federal government has made data sharing a part of its National Innovation and Science Agenda.

According to Unisys, public support for that data sharing will hinge on the purpose and perceived benefit of data sharing.

For example, the top reason Australians support data sharing by government departments is when it enables law enforcement agencies to identify crime and terrorism (48 percent of Australians support, according to the report).

The top reason for not supporting data sharing, the report says, is a lack of clarity about how the government will use the data and privacy concerns

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