​NSW Budget: Dominello reveals AU$536m for health IT infrastructure

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Image: Asha McLean/ZDNet

New South Wales Minister for Finance, Services and Property Victor Dominello has offered a preview into the state government’s 2017-18 Budget, due to be handed down on Tuesday.

Speaking at the opening of enterprise cloud company ServiceNow’s new Australian headquarters in Sydney, Dominello said the state is pumping funding into eHealth initiatives as citizens are expecting better services in the digital age.

“We’re spending money in relation to digital infrastructure,” the minister explained on Monday.

“In eHealth alone, AU$536 million — half a billion dollars — for IT infrastructure for health, because we all know health is going to take a large chunk of the budget in the years ahead and if you don’t do it intelligently, we’re not going to get the outcomes.”

Dominello explained that doing things intelligently means the government and private enterprise alike need to invest in the digital and data age.

“Almost every application of our society that people elect a government, they want better services for the citizens, but you can only deliver better services if it is designed from the intelligent perspective,” he added.

After counting the number of cranes visible from ServiceNow’s new office, Dominello said the “sexiest” infrastructure remains the digital type.

“We’re constantly talking about infrastructure in NSW … it’s not just about social infrastructure and it’s not just about the heavy infrastructure, road and rail,” he said.

“In my view, the sexiest infrastructure is the one we don’t really talk about, and that is the digital infrastructure; that is the infrastructure that is really going to power our state and our nation into the future — that is our guarantee for success, no doubt about it.”

Pointing to Service NSW, the state’s one-stop shop for government services, Dominello said the initiatives under the agency’s remit are in full digital swing.

“It’s about using the digital footprint that we have now to deliver better outcomes for the people of our state,” he added.

Speaking of the initiative to digitise licences handed out by the state, Dominello said Service NSW is about to begin the pilot of the “holy grail” — driver licences in digital format.

Service NSW introduced online driver’s licence renewals in June last year, allowing licence holders to renew online via their Service NSW digital account.

The service allows those eligible to renew their licence for up to five years and if a customer’s existing identification photograph is deemed acceptable, the new licence will be issued by post within 10 business days.

The new pilot follows the availability of digital versions of the Recreational Fishing Licence, the Responsible Service of Alcohol Card, and the Responsible Conduct of Gambling Competency Cards that are already used state-wide, Dominello added.

In July 2014, the NSW government launched Service NSW to bring together a number of different state services under the one office, including RMS, Births, Deaths and Marriages, and small business support.

In last year’s Budget, the state government injected an additional AU$415 million into Service NSW, comprising AU$329 million in recurrent funding and AU$86 million capital to continue the rollout of the Service NSW customer service network.



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