NSW government launches $100m ‘digital restart’ fund

Prepares for 1 July launch of Department of Customer Service

New South Wales will establish a ‘Digital Restart Fund’ in 2019-20 with seed funding of $100 million over the next two years to fund whole-of-government digital transformation.

The measure was outlined in the state’s budget, handed down today by NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet.

“We’ll continue to make people’s lives easier with a focus on digital government,” the treasurer said in his budget speech.

Victoria has “copied” the state’s Service NSW approach, Perrottet said. Victoria in 2015 began work on its ‘Service Victoria’ initiative. The NSW Treasurer also noted the decision of the federal government to create Services Australia: A successor to the Department of Human Services that will absorb the Digital Transformation Agency and take responsibility for whole-of-government IT and ICT procurement.

NSW is preparing to “take things to the next level” with the new Digital Restart Fund, Perrottet said in his speech.

The treasurer also noted that NSW will be the first Australian jurisdiction to give people access to a digital driver’s licence. Access to the opt-in licence system will be thrown open from August, but more than 14,000 people are already using it thanks to trials in Dubbo, Albury and the eastern suburbs of Sydney, according to the government.   

“Smartphones have become de facto wallets and we’re using cutting edge technology so that drivers can use a digital licence in everyday scenarios,” said customer service minister Victor Dominello.

“The DDL is hosted securely on the new Service NSW app, locks with a PIN and can be accessed offline. It will provide additional levels of security and protection against identity fraud, compared to the plastic driver licence.”

Following the state election earlier this year Dominello was appointed NSW’s inaugural minister for customer service. The administrative arrangements creating the new Department of Customer Service will kick in from 1 July.

The budget earmarks $3.1 billion for the Customer Service cluster in 2019-20 ($2.7 billion recurrent expenses and $374.8 million capital expenditure). Service NSW will receive additional funding of $50 million in 2019-20.

The new department will incorporate the functions of the Department of Finance, Service and Innovation, as well as the Data Analytics Centre from the Treasury, and a range of teams from the Department of Premier and Cabinet transfer including the Office of the Customer Service Commissioner, the Behavioural Insights Unit, and the Government Communications Branch.

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Tags NSW GovernmentNew South Wales (NSW)Service NSW

More about AustraliaDepartment of Human ServicesDepartment of Premier and CabinetDubboService NSW

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