NSW plants $1.6b in digital-led recovery

James Riley
Editorial Director

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has unveiled a $1.6 billion investment over three years in government digital infrastructure as part of the state’s post-COVID economic stimulus funding and includes $240 million targeted at boosting cybersecurity capability.

The package includes $1 billion in new money, and $600 million in redirected savings that will now be invested in building the NSW whole-of-government internal tech delivery capability.

The overall package is the largest ever single funding commitment for digital infrastructure by any government in Australia, just as its cyber components is the largest single commitment to cybersecurity by any government in Australia.

Gladys Berejiklian
Gladys Berejiklian: A $1.6 billion commitment to digital infrastructure

The new money is intended as stimulus for the economic recovery period. But the state is seeking to broaden its digital services infrastructure. While NSW is rightly recognised as a leader in digital service delivery and has built core expertise within Service NSW, it is now pushing to extend that internal capability across other portfolios.

The dollars will flow through the state’s existing Digital Restart Fund, set up in last year’s NSW budget with $100 million in seed funding with the aim to transform internal delivery capability.

The 10X+ cash injection would “turbo-charge” the digital program, Ms Berejiklian told a press conference in Sydney on Thursday.

“We are leading the country on digital transformation and this investment will cement our reputation as a world leader in technology and innovation,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“NSW, at the risk of sounding immodest, is already leading the way in how we provide services to our citizens,” she told reporters. “What COVID has shown us is that opportunities we have in the future.

“It’s not only about improving people’s experience, but also in reducing redtape and reducing those frustrating processes that people have to go through to get what they need.”

Among a number of programs, the new investment dollars would help to accelerate NSW’s ‘tell-us-once’ digital program. “This improvement in the digital platforms across the whole of government will really allow us to do that,” she said.

Customer Service Minister Victor Dominello said the $240 million in new cyber funding inc to bolster the Government’s cyber security capability would create a world leading cyber industry.

“This is the biggest single cyber security investment in national history and will strengthen the government’s capacity to detect and respond to the fast moving cyber threat landscape,” Mr Dominello said.

“We are leading the nation on bricks and mortar infrastructure and this historic investment will position us to develop a world leading cyber security industry and be a jobs hub for this critical multi-billion-dollar sector.”

The Cyber Security funding will go towards protecting existing systems, deploying new technologies and increasing our cyber workforce.

Mr Dominello’s office said although the new funding aimed to build new internal capability across government, it would nonetheless present opportunities for Australian tech companies to engage with the delivery programs – particularly in cyber.

The government recognised that public spending was an important lever for building the local industry and that mechanisms would need to be in place to ensure that a substantial portion of stimulus found its way to tech SMEs.

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