The 2018-19 New South Wales budget earmarks $20 million over four years to boost the state government’s “preparedness for and response to cyber security issues across all agencies”.
In March, the state’s auditor-general released a withering report that said that government agencies’ ability to detect and respond to cyber security incidents “needs to improve significantly and quickly”.
“There is no whole-of-government capability to detect and respond effectively to cyber security incidents,” NSW auditor-general Margaret Crawford wrote in her report.
“There is limited sharing of information on incidents amongst agencies, and some of the agencies we reviewed have poor detection and response practices and procedures.”
The audit examined the NSW Department of Finance, Services and Innovation (DFSI) as well as a number of unnamed state government agencies.
NSW last year appointed its first whole-of-government chief information security officer (CISO), Dr Maria Milosavljevic — a move the government believes will help boost cyber security co-ordination and support across departments and agencies.
Connected vehicle trials
The budget also contains funding to support trials of connected vehicle technology. The state government revealed earlier this week that it would establish a $10 million fund ($2.5 million a year over four years) to facilitate trials of connected and automated vehicles.
“A decade ago things like Uber and smart watches seemed like something out of the Jetsons. Driverless cars might feel a bit like that today but the reality is they are already being built and tested around the world,” transport and infrastructure minister Andrew Constance said.
“The technology is here and we are going to make sure we are ready to embrace it,” the minister added.
“Having a dedicated fund for trials will mean that government, universities, the private sector and start-ups can partner together to test and gain insights into how these technologies will shape our future cities and regions.”
The government is also spending money on digital upgrades for the state’s rail services.
“We’re starting a rail tech revolution with $880 million committed for digital systems on the rail network to replace legacy signalling and train control with modern, intelligent systems that will improve service reliability and the network’s ability to recover after major incidents,” Constance said.
The government has earmarked $648.2 million in 2018-19 as part of the push to replace end-of-life train signalling systems. The spending is part of the Automated Systems phase of the government’s More Trains, More Services program.
The budget also includes $54.4 million to help implement the National Facial Biometric Matching Capability.
In addition, the government will spend $13.2 million over two years on JusticeLink, the web-based case management system used by NSW Local, District and Supreme Courts. The funding will be used to “move all remaining jurisdictions onto the system and improve data collection systems,” budget documents state.
Also in the state’s budget is $8 million to expand the range of government transactions and services that can be undertaken digitally.
The government said it will spend $151.1 million in 2018-19 ($467.3 million over four years) on the Critical Communications Enhancement Program to expand the coverage of the Government Radio Network employed by emergency services.
Other tech spending includes $9.3 million to help deliver the digital drivers licence and digital photo card for the state, $9 million for broadband initiatives to boost services in regional areas, $20 million to help fund base stations to tackle mobile black spots and $4 million over two years for a “one-click energy switch” service.
The government said the energy switch service will be delivered through Service NSW.
“Service NSW will check your usage through your energy bill, search the market for available plans and if you can save money, then we will help you change providers,” NSW minister for finance, services and property Victor Dominello said.
“We want NSW customers to feel empowered to drive down the price of their bills by switching to the best deal available and that’s what this initiative will do.”