What the NSW Budget has in store for local partners

The state government commits more than $1 billion to a variety of IT projects

The New South Wales Government has revealed plans to spend more than $1 billion on a number of major IT and digital projects in its 2017-18 Budget, handed down on 20 June.

The state’s latest annual Budget highlights some big spending on no fewer than nine large, multimillion-dollar IT projects, most of which are likely to see local partners called in to help out with.

According to Budget papers, the spending comes as the NSW Government’s Digital Strategy aims to make government more open, connected, customer focused and outcomes driven.

“Digital government requires investment in the right technology to deliver simple, accessible and adaptive services,” the Budget papers state. “The ICT Assurance Framework ensures the application of an independent risk-based assurance process for NSW’s capital and recurrent ICT projects.

“For the first time, the 2018 State Infrastructure Strategy will consider future digital trends and connectivity infrastructure requirements that NSW will need over the next 20 years,” it said.

Here are some of the IT projects aimed at contributing to delivering the State’s strategic priorities and Digital Strategy:

Health whole of system digital platform - $286.3 million

This funding is intended to enhance the digital infrastructure that supports clinical and other health-related systems across the state.

According to the Budget papers, the project will complete the fast, secure statewide network at the remaining sites which clinicians use to access data.

Performance and reliability of IT systems will be improved with the upgrading and consolidation of existing hardware into the Government Data Centres.

Health integrated digital patient records - $236.2 million

Aimed at improving the digital storage and communication of medical information in NSW, this project includes the rollout of the electronic medication management system to more public hospitals in the state.

The investment also includes linking NSW Ambulance and hospital electronic medical records in real time to support faster and safer transfer of care from NSW Ambulance to hospital emergency departments.

Finance critical communications enhancement program - $163.2 million

Funded over two years from 2017-18 to 2018-19, this investment is expected to enhance communications services required by frontline agency staff in the delivery of emergency, law enforcement, and essential community services to NSW residents.

The NSW Telco Authority is managing the rollout of the network, which is commencing in the North Coast of NSW.

Sydney Water customer experience platform - $156 million

This funding is for a replacement billing and customer relationship management system that is aimed at providing a more customer-centric approach across a common platform, It is expected to help the business operate more efficiently and respond more quickly to market and regulatory changes.

Sydney Water business experience platform - $85.7 million

This injection of cash is for the implementation of a modern unified enterprise resource planning (ERP) platform to support business agility, greater efficiency and responsiveness to change.

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Policing for Tomorrow Technology Fund - $51.0 million

This $51 million capital for 2017-18 is expected to continue implementation of the four year, $100 million Policing for Tomorrow Technology Fund, providing the NSW Police Force with state-of-the-art technology to fight crime and enhance officer mobility.

Biodiversity reform digital and ICT platforms - $18.1 million

This funding is being pumped into key digital and IT tools to support the operation of the Biodiversity Reforms and new biodiversity offsets scheme. It will also support integrated IT systems across Office of Environment and Heritage and Local Land Services

NSW Electoral Commission online systems - $12.8 million

The NSW Government has pledged $10.3 million in recurrent funds for online systems and $12.8 million in capital expenditure from 2017-18 to 2020-21, which will include an end-to-end solution for the disclosure of political donations, expenditure and the lodgment of public funding claims, and improvements to the iVote system.

Acceleration of online housing approvals - $11.8 million

This ePlanning funding is for the Stage 3 acceleration of the state government’s online housing approvals operation. It includes a cloud-based development approvals assessment system for regional councils and small metropolitan councils with low capability.

This system is aimed at replacing disparate paper processes with electronic workflows of the NSW Planning Portal to reduce delays in the planning system.

The funding announcements come amid a state surplus of $2.7 billion in 2017-18 and surpluses forecast over the next four years, negative net debt in 2016-17 and 2017-18.

The 2017-18 Budget also contains funding to help boost small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) and startups in the state, with the NSW Government pledging insurance tax cuts for small businesses from 1 January 2018 to reduce costs and support jobs growth.

Other initiatives totalling $30.5 million will support business advisory services, help reduce red tape and drive innovation, including funding for more than 60 advisers through the state’s Business Connect program.

“From 1 January 2018, small businesses with a turnover of less than $2 million will be exempt from paying duties on insurance for commercial vehicles, professional indemnity and public liability,” NSW Treasurer, Dominic Perrottet, said in his Budget speech.

“And in recognition of the importance of the digital economy, we are developing a co-location hub in the Sydney CBD for startups, at a cost of $20 million,” he said.