The NSW government says it will be spend a total of $3.1 billion in the next financial year prioritising customer service in the work it undertakes around policy design and services it would deliver.
Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said the investment would allow the government to be more nimble when facing technology changes and be able to respond quickly to economic challenges, such as drought assistance.
“One of the hallmarks of our government has been running a public service that is focused on the needs of our citizens. That means a bigger, better frontline. And a leaner, more agile back-office,” he said.
“This Budget continues that journey, reflecting changes to the public service announced in April. This means 10 departments will be reduced to 8. While our frontline is again boosted, we will drive more efficiencies in our back-office and contingent labour expenses across government.”
According to the state government, over the next four years $70 million would be invested to roll out 10 new additional Service NSW centres across Sydney metro, including Roselands, Randwick, Merrylands, and North Sydney.
Meanwhile $4 million in 2019-20 would be used for four one-stop shop Service NSW buses servicing communities throughout the state. The new buses, two of which are already on the road, would travel for up to 46 weeks a year and reach 14 local government areas where Service NSW has no existing physical presence.
The NSW government said it would also establish a Digital Restart Fund as part of this latest Budget where it would seed fund $100 million over the next two years for whole-of-government digital transformation.
This process would involve consolidating public sector agencies, so that common platforms are adopted to remove duplicate and increase efficiency.
Initial examples of this consolidation were already exemplified when Premier Gladys Berejiklian restructured her government following the state election in March. In signing off on the Administrative Arrangements, Customer Service portfolio took up the best parts of the digital delivery and data analytics infrastructure from across government.
This saw Service NSW has since move from Finance to Customer Service; the Data Analytics Centre moved from Treasury to Customer Service, while the Office of the Customer Service Commissioner and the Behavioural Insights Unit moved from Premier and Cabinet to the Customer Service Portfolio.
In addition, the NSW government announced the NSW Digital Driver Licence (DDL) technology would be rolled out state-wide in the coming months. It follows successful trials in Dubbo, Albury and Sydney’s eastern suburbs, who have been using the technology via the Service NSW app.
When made widely available, the DDL would allow users to access their proof of identity and proof of age on their mobile phones to enter into pubs, clubs and roadside police checks.
But the focus is not only on improving service for citizens, but also reducing red tape for businesses. The state government said it would contribute $49 million in 2019-20 for the Easy to Do Business program to provide a concierge-like service and interface with local councils and government bodies for small businesses.
The new funding amount for customer services comes as the 2019-20 state budget revealed former Department of Finance, Services and Innovation – which will be officially abolished on July 1 – had budgeted for a depreciation and amortisation of $95 million but revised it to $151 million.
The government attributed the $56 million difference to changes in depreciation policy for ICT project.