A future coalition government in New South Wales would centralise IT governance in the state, according to policy documents released by Shadow Financial Management Minister Greg Pearce.
With just over three weeks out from the 26 March election, Pearce today provided a four-page document to ZDNet Australia outlining his party's plans for ICT in the state if it, as many predict, unseats Labor from power. Pearce said that the Coalition had consulted with ICT industry to develop a "vision for government procurement and use of ICT".
The centrepiece of the Coalition's policy was for the plan for a single high-level body within government made up of ministers and key executives "to provide long-term strategy oversight and monitoring of delivery of major ICT projects".
Pearce said the aim would be to develop a whole-of-government ICT governance model across agencies in NSW with assistance from a committee of private sector representatives. This would ensure that planning decisions were based on the life cycle of projects, and not just on annual budgets, he said.
"We believe that the key challenge for the NSW Government is the lack of collaboration between agencies on ICT. NSW has little consistency in term of ICT architectures and standards across the public sector," Pearce stated in the four-page document. "As programs and investments are not aligned, there is huge duplication of effort and critical financial resources are wasted."
The Coalition's first task would be to look at cloud computing opportunities for the government, Pearce said.
"I would be keen for this body to explore opportunities beyond the basic datacentre option Labor is pursuing. In particular, I'd like them to identify how the NSW Government might build government capability using a cloud computing model while enhancing local private sector industry development and explore opportunities for NSW Government to joint venture some of its ICT development needs with the local IT industry," he said.
The Coalition Government would move to ensure that intellectual property developed for agencies remained the property of the developers, rather than the government. This would bring NSW policy into line with policy the Federal Labor Government implemented in May 2010.
Pearce said the Coalition would also take on the recommendations of the NSW Audit Office report that was critical of the lack of oversight and compliance regarding information security in the NSW Government. The Coalition Government would enforce compliance across all government agencies by setting minimum requirements for information security.
Pearce said that he saw fast broadband as "critical" to the future of New South Wales, and would keep an "open mind" about the National Broadband Network despite having concerns about the project.
"My feedback from players in the ICT industry suggests the NBN is not being done well and many have taken issue with the government's choice of backing a single technology — fibre," he said.
The office of Commerce Minister Paul Lynch told ZDNet Australia that Labor's ICT policy is expected to be released within the next two weeks.