The NSW Government is about to embark on its largest ever cross-government computing project in an effort to streamline business licensing in the state.
The project, dubbed connecting Business, will see the integration of 70 different licensing systems into one, enabling users to obtain business licences from a single point of contact. Currently, 28 Government departments issue around 200 different business licences, with no agency offering the service online.
While the four-year project is expected to drain the taxpayer of some $32 million, Kim Yeadon, the NSW Minister for IT, estimates that the paring down of the system will save around $70 million in IT infrastructure.
In addition, Yeadon believes that the benefits will trickle down to the user, saying that the new system will significantly reduce application times and cut licence costs.
The project will also host an online directory of the 1.5 million business licence holders in NSW, to make it easierfor consumers to check the validity of the businesses with which they deal. Yeadon also bounced around the possibility of introducing photo licences for businesses that are valid for three to five years, similar to driving licences, to further combat "shonky operators".
With the Department of IT and Management spear heading the project, the 12-person team is already in the throes of analysing the existing licensing systems. In addition, the project team has been in consultation with Privacy NSW to ensure that information held in the new system will adhere to the State's privacy regulations.
The five most active licensing agencies are being targeted by the project initially, including Fair Trading, Gaming and Racing, National Parks and Wildlife, WorkCover and the Health Professionals Registration Board.