NSW Labor tunes digital policy

James Riley
Editorial Director

The Labor opposition in NSW says that while the Berejiklian government’s digital strategy had gained some good momentum, there was still plenty that could be improved.

As the Opposition works on a broader policy on innovation ahead a NSW state election next March, shadow innovation minister Yasmin Catley said with a bit of fine tuning the NSW digital strategy had the potential to deliver citizens better services and cost savings, as well as address risk and improve compliance.

“The central concerns have been around transparency of digital service delivery, such as the concealment of certain fees and charges by the Minister as part of the CTP rebate scheme. This erodes public confidence in such programs,” she told InnovationAus.com.

“Digital delivery is worth pursuing, but we need to ensure that it is delivered in a transparent manner to maintain consumer confidence.”

The NSW government’s digital strategy had been in the making since 2012. Since then, the government has been pushing forward to deliver services such as a digital authentication and transaction aggregation platform called MyServiceNSW – aka a digital ID.

Slated to be activated by next year with four million account holders, MyServiceNSW is expected to improve the state’s case for evolving into a platform that will streamline services including vehicle registration, license renewals, and a full-service digital identity.

“Digital identity represents a vast array of benefits for Government and citizens. This does have to be balanced with fundamental rights such as privacy,” Ms Catley said.

“Labor would look at the machinery of Government in this innovation and digital space as a matter of priority when it comes to Government.”

Ms Catley added Labor will reconsider how the responsibilities of the innovation will be allocated as she’s concerned there are “too many fingers in the pie in the innovation space.”

Under the current government, the responsibilities of innovation are a bit of a mixed bag, spread through different portfolios.

Matthew Kean might hold the title as Minister for Innovation, but has remained fairly mute since taking up the role in January 2017.

A large part of digital innovation responsibilities – particularly around service delivery – are in the hands of Finance Minister Victor Dominello. Industry Minister and Deputy Premier John Barilaro also has a say, as does Treasurer Dominic Perrottet.

“There are concerns that the Innovation portfolio has lost its way under Premier Berejiklian. Innovation under the current Government seems too focused on what is happening within 10km of the CBD – and fails to recognise that innovation is happening all over the State and across many sectors,” Ms Catley said.

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