Tasmania-headquartered Amazon Web Services (AWS) partner, XVT Solutions, has won multiple six-figure deals with the NSW Department of Planning and Environment to build, manage and deliver a brand new planning system hosted on AWS.
The managed service provider initially scored a $3.6 million, three-year contract with the department through a tender process and launched the solution in November 2015.
As part of “Phase 1” of the solution, the planning portal was built using the government-preferred Drupal Content Management System (CMS) and the solution uses Weave, the GeoSpatial information viewer integrated with Drupal.
XVT commenced “Phase 2” of the project in late February, worth another $5.6 million.
“The main focus for Phase 2 is to provide the facility for online lodgement of development applications. It’s essentially for planning professionals and home owners to be able to lodge an application online,” XVT Solutions founder and CEO, Lawrence Howson, said.
“It will be made available directly to council systems through a central portal and it allow any application progress to be tracked.
"The project is also an extension of Phase 1 where professionals can click on a property, see exactly what is required to be submitted as part of the development application and it will be driven through the portal.”
Howson told ARN he expects the project to be completed within 12-18 months.
“Before this portal was envisioned, people had to look up their local council to obtain all the paperwork and then look up all the disparate rules and regulations pertaining to that. There are 152 councils and in NSW and so there are about 152 ways of doing it.”
“The vision of the portal was to bring a centralised, consistent way to display the information and submit applications,” he explained.
According to a spokesperson from the Department of Planning and Environment, the Planning Portal forms part of the NSW Government’s agenda for a simpler, faster and more reliable digital planning system for NSW.
“Prior to the implementation of the Planning Portal the Department had a proof of concept website known as the Planning Hub," the spokesperson said.
"The Planning Portal provides a single point of online access to planning information for the community, whether they are preparing their own development applications or want to know what developments are proposed in their local area."
Howson added that the project was largely driven by the Premier and Minister for Planning focus on infrastructure and affordable housing.
“If you want to have affordable housing development quickly - which is a key issue for NSW - you need to ensure your planning processes are lean and efficient. I think it really fits into that vision of making the state a straightforward place to do business,” he added.
According to Howson, whilst the project was XVT’s first engagement with the Department, it was likely that it wasn’t the first time the government department had learnt about the company.
“We were a key part of a project in Tasmania for the Land Department there, in a project redeveloping their main information system," he said.
"The project was all about rendering properties on maps and I think that put us in good stead for this project which again, is about properties being displayed on maps."
In this deal, struck in late 2014, XVT’s work revolved around two sub-projects, Land Information System Tasmania (LIST) and Data & Services Directory. Both systems were built on top of OpenCMS which is a Java based content management system.