NSW Budget: Big IT projects, tendering changes and tax breaks

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NSW Budget: Big IT projects, tendering changes and tax breaks

The NSW government has outlined plans to invest more than $1 billion in IT over several large projects it aims to deliver as part of the 2017-18 state budget.

As part of the NSW State Infrastructure Plan, the government committed to major IT projects across health, finance, water utility, police, environment, planning and government systems.

The state government says the projects will contribute to the delivery of its digital strategy, which takes into account the digital and connectivity infrastructure requirements of NSW over the next 20 years.

Healthcare

The Budget put forward $236.2 million to deliver an Integrated Digital Patient Records project. This project is expected to improve the digital storage and communication of medical information for accuracy, ease of use and accessibility. It includes a greater rollout of an electronic medication management system to more NSW public hospitals as well as an investment in the provision of real time access to medical records from NSW Ambulances and hospital emergency departments.

A Whole of System Digital Platform was also announced, with $286.3 million pledged to enhance the digital infrastructure that supports clinical and other health-related systems across the state. This is set to deliver improved networking and connectivity to sites where medical professionals work. IT systems are expected to be improved by migrating hardware into government data centres.  

Finance

An investment of $163.2 million over two years was proposed in the Critical Communications Enhancement Program, which sets out to improve communications sevices to key staff in emergency services, law enforcement and community services fields across the state. This network roll-out, beginning in the NSW north coast, will be managed by the NSW Telco Authority.

Utility

A $156 million billing and CRM system was announced for Sydney Water, as part of a customer experience platform. An $85.7 million ERP platform has also been pledged to Sydney Water for its business experience platform to support better productivity and responsiveness to change.

Police

The government is set to continue its $100 million, four-year Policing for Tomorrow Technology Fund, announced in the 2015 Budget, with $51 million of that coming from the 2017-18 Budget. The initiative funds the provision of new technology to help the NSW Police Force fight crime and “enhance officer mobility”.

Environment

An IT platform for Biodiversity Reform has been funded to the tune of $18.1 million. The funding will supply digital and IT tools to support biodiversity reform. The funding will also support IT across the Office of Environment and Heritage and Local Land Services.

Government

The NSW Electoral Commission will receive a $12.8 million injection to support its online systems, in addition to $10.3 million the NSW EC will receive in recurrent funds, and will include the development of a solution to make transparent political donations, expenditure and the lodgement of public funding claims, as well as improvements to the government’s iVote system.

Planning

$11.8 million will be pumped into stage 3 of the state government’s ePlanning program to accelerate online housing approvals for regional and small metropolitan councils with a cloud-based system to replace time consuming paper processes that don’t align with the NSW Planning Portal.

The government says all of its IT projects will be delivered through the lens of its ICT Assurance Framework, which it says is designed to “to improve strategic alignment and assurance for ICT projects across the project lifecycle”.

The NSW government also hinted at changes to the the way IT tendering may be conducted, with one of several measures to manage expenditure growth expecting to see $169.7 million in savings on procurement through “enhanced contract and tendering” of facilities management, ICT end-user devices and fleet management.

Of interest to small businesses may be some other focused budget measures, where the government is putting forward $9.4 million to make it easier for small businesses to be established, through an online portal.

A range of insurance tax cuts for small businesses were also promised from 1 January 2018, while $7.5 million has been pledged to the NSW government’s Business Connect program, funding more than 60 advisors across the state to help small businesses grow, and $3.6 million has been put forward for small business advocacy and dispute resolution services.  

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