Australian government looks towards common Drupal and public cloud platform

Later on this month, the Australian government intends to find itself a service provider that will be responsible for its Government Content Management System.

Bringing together a number of disparate federal government websites, the Australian Department of Finance said last week that it is looking to provide a common platform for agency websites based on Drupal.

"Our preference is for Software-as-a-Service on Public Cloud, using Open Source Drupal software," wrote Australian government CTO, John Sheridan in a blog post.

Drupal will be the basis for the Government Content Management System (GovCMS) that is intended to replace the 1200 websites used across the commonwealth government. The reasons given for the switch were to lower costs, allow agencies to more easily comply with security and accessibility requirements for government sites, better mobile sites, and to utilise open source licences to allow for sharing of code.

"Many of the sites are static, with limited complexity and consume significant resources from either the internal IT department, or through an external hosted arrangement. Many websites also use commercially licensed software, which incur annual maintenance costs to keep up to date," said the GovCMS Statement of Requirements (PDF) draft.

"Many small agencies do not have the resources to ensure that Commonwealth website standards around security accreditation and accessibility obligations are maintained."

A feasibility study found that 780 of government sites were categorised as small and rarely updated, 310 fell under a "content rich" profile, with 180 being labelled as "feature rich".

However, the government is not planning to do a large switch of sites. After four years, it is expected that only 182 to 437 sites will be switched over to GovCMS.

The first of the GovCMS sites is expected to launch in September.

The Department of Finance is seeking feedback on its draft statement of until Wednesday 21st May.

By Chris Duckett

Some would say that it is a long way from software engineering to journalism, others would correctly argue that it is a mere 10 metres according to the floor plan. During his first five years with CBS Interactive, Chris started his journalistic adven...