New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian has doubled-down on the state’s digital service delivery agenda with the creation of a new Customer Service ministry headed by Australia’s most outspoken political advocate for public sector digital transformation, Victor Dominello.
Mr Dominello, the former Minister for Finance, Services and Property, heads the new Customer Service portfolio that takes with it responsibility for Service NSW and its centralised digital service delivery strategy.
Former minister for innovation and better regulation Matt Kean has been moved to the Energy and Environment portfolio, with the Liberal’s member for Tamworth Kevin Anderson appointed as trhe new Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation.
It is understood the Innovation and Better Regulation will move as a junior ministerial position to Mr Dominello’s Customer Service portfolio.
The digital-savvy Dominic Perrottet remains as Treasurer, while the Deputy Premier John Barilaro has been added Industry and Trade to his role as Minister for Regional NSW.
Details of the machinery of government changes that will underpin Ms Berejiklian’s second ministry are not expected to be announced until Monday, but the Premier has promised a bold restructure of the public service, with fewer departments, fewer secretaries, and fewer government agencies.
As Customer Service minister Mr Dominello retains his senior leadership role inside Cabinet, alongside the key delivery agencies of health, transport, education and police and the politically sensitive planning portfolio.
Whether or not Mr Dominello retains the clout to enable the expansion of the digital service delivery program depends on the structural changes in government. While it seems clear that Service NSW and its chief Damon Rees will report through the new Customer Service ministry, it is not entirely clear whether NSW ‘s whole of government Chief Digital Information Officer Greg Wells will also move in the new structure.
Similarly, it is not clear how the changes will impact whole of government ICT procurement, the digital marketplace, or initiatives like the Pitch-to-Pilot procurement theatre.
After a hard-fought NSW election on March 23, Premier Berejiklian put increased emphasis on the regions – given the peculiar difficulties the Coalition faced in defending regional electorates.
The Premier appointed a dedicated Minister for Western NSW for the first time, as well as a dedicated Minister for Water. She also appointed new ministers for Regional Youth and Regional Transport.
It is also unsurprising that Ms Berejiklian has a renewed focus on government service delivery. Service NSW and digital cost of living initiatives like CTP Green Slip refunds and Active Kids vouchers have been a huge plus for this government.
The biggest questions about the Second Berejiklian Ministry arise from Mr Dominello’s appointment as the Minister for Customer Service.
More details will emerge on Monday before the swearing in on the ministers at NSW Government House on Tuesday.