The New South Wales government released its 2021-22 budget on Tuesday, revealing that digital initiatives across the state will receive nice giveaways.
Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said the state’s “secret weapon” for economic recovery from COVID-19 was its digital government platform, which he said was “light years ahead of competition “. Following this praise, the state government noted in its budget documents [PDF] that it would pour an additional half a billion dollars over three years into its digital restart fund, which aims to increase digital capabilities across government.
“This brings our investment in transforming digital services for our citizens to A $ 2.1 billion,” Perrottet said.
With the additional investment for the Digital Restart Fund, the Ministry of Health will be able to begin the first phase of creating its unique digital patient record; The customer service department will be able to establish its digital platform for certification registers as part of its eConstruction initiative; and the cybersecurity capabilities of the Department of Education, Planning, Industry and Environment, Prime Minister and Cabinet, Communities and Justice, Police, Transport New Wales South and the Ministry of Health will be lifted.
Under the Digital Restart Fund, A $ 500,000 will also be invested in the design and development of a new database for the NSW Pet Registry.
Meanwhile, the Data Analytics Center will receive A $ 38.3 million over four years to provide additional information that will inform policy decisions by the state.
The customer service department is expected to receive additional funding of A $ 130 million, the budget said. Most of it, according to Customer Service Minister Victor Dominello, will go to Service NSW jobs.
“We want to save customers time and money when interacting with government, and technology is a critical part of the solution, as we’ve seen with the Service NSW app, the code system QR NSW and Dine and Discover vouchers, ”he said.
“This funding also allows us to build on popular products such as the digital driver’s license, FuelCheck and Park’nPay, while improving our cybersecurity and information security systems.”
The budget also provides A $ 660 million in funding to complete the statewide rollout of the Critical Communications Improvement Program (CCEP). Under the CCEP, the state government developed the Public Safety Network to provide emergency service organizations with a unique radio communication network. This latter funding will be the fourth tranche of funding that the government has committed to the program since 2016.
“The last 318 radio sites (out of 675) will be built and brought online, providing full coverage of the state. The network’s land coverage will increase from 47% to 85% of NSW and an increase in the state’s population coverage from 96.0% to 99.7%, “Budget newspapers said .
At the same time, Investment NSW received AU $ 416 million, of which AU $ 35 million will be invested in an entrepreneurship and innovation fund to “promote new ideas, design and investment while creating sustainable jobs in targeted sectors, constituencies and regions. New South Wales”.
The state government has noted that Tech Central and the Westmead Health and Innovation District will each receive A $ 10 million. Tech Central will use the funds to support investments, a deep technology innovation infrastructure, and a program that will help develop the talent needed to fill the current technology skills gap.
Westmead Health will use the money to establish new infrastructure that will house shared lab space and incubator for startups looking to commercialize research in biotechnology, diagnostics and digital health.
In addition, A $ 500 million will be distributed to increase spending on digital health initiatives, including virtual care and telehealth, while more than A $ 214.3 million will be used to bolster ambulance services. NSW by upgrading ambulance defibrillators that improve integration of electronic medical records. capabilities between NSW Ambulance and emergency departments at hospitals across the state.
The state government has also signaled its support for regional and rural Australia with an A $ 198 million digital connectivity package that will be invested in initiatives such as the Gig State Project, the expanded Farms of the Future program and the mobile coverage project.
Looking at how NSW could better engage with the global community, the state government will spend A $ 87.5 million to target industrial development programs in key sectors such as space, medical technology, cyber, fintech, regtech and agtech.
On education, teachers in schools in New South Wales will soon have access to a new online portal designed to help them deliver the curriculum. The interactive digital portal is part of the NSW government’s decision to overhaul the state’s curriculum as part of a $ 196.6 million four-year program.
“The new portal will help teachers integrate curriculum material and deliver lessons based on the latest research and resources, meeting the needs of our students in ways we have never been able to do before,” said the teacher. Minister of Education Sarah Mitchell.
“The new curriculum and portal will save teachers time, improve clarity and make curriculum implementation even easier. The investment will allow teachers to unlock the potential of the program while arming them with the best resources, multiplying the positive impacts of the reform. “
It will be the first major rewrite of the New South Wales curriculum in 30 years, according to the state government.
The new platform currently under development is expected to go live in Quarter 4, 2021 with new K-2 English and Maths curricula.
In addition, A $ 19 million will be invested in refreshing video conferencing and computer facilities at TAFE campuses across the state.
The state government has also set aside an additional A $ 268.2 million as part of its response to the NSW bushfire investigation.
Of this total, A $ 5.2 million will be used for additional drones for firefighting operations, A $ 19.9 million will fund the upgrading of the rural fire service dispatch systems of NSW (NSWRFS) and AU $ 10.6 million for the implementation of a new national fire hazard. Rating system.
“This commitment will strengthen the future of our fire services and the preparedness of communities, many of whom have personally witnessed the devastating effects of the fires,” said Perrotet.
The latest announcement follows the state government spending a total of A $ 28 million over four years under the 2021-2022 budget to research and develop new technologies and industries to help New Wales of the South to fight against future bushfires.
Perrottet said the funding would be split evenly in tranches of A $ 7 million as part of the NSW Bushfire Response R&D mission.
Under the mission, funding will be used to establish a bushfire technology network for researchers, investors and industry, as well as to work with local small businesses to develop and commercialize wildfire technologies. bush through an early stage bushfire technology fund to secure new technologies. are tested by NSW’s frontline bushfire control services.
Other funding announcements in the state budget included an additional A $ 1 million to enable the development of a mobile phone interpreter app, which will link police and emergency services in the field with interpreters on site to provide timely interpretation assistance when needed. .