As part of the Better Services and Value Plan announced in last year's state budget, an ICT review by the NSW Government could reduce costs by almost $240 million, or 15 per cent within the next two years.
Following a review, the government has developed a process to allow agencies to track expenditure and establish savings targets. Savings of 5 per cent, or $79 million, are expected in 2010/11, with government agencies scheduled to approve plans in September that will increase savings by a further 10 per cent ($158 million) in 2011/12.
From 2012, 15 per cent per annum will become standard, with half of the savings from the review to be pooled to fund efficiency-improving ICT projects.
Other IT wins from the budget outweighed the costs saved, however; with many government agencies receiving ICT budgets that more than double the savings expected this year.
For NSW Police, $11.5 million was allocated to ICT equipment upgrades, $11 million for police radio network and communications upgrades, and $15 million for the ongoing upgrade of the Core Operating Policing System (COPS) program.
For 25 additional mobile police command units, $3.3 million was set aside; and $3.8 million will go towards Automatic Mobile Number Plate Recognition Systems in police vehicles.
The budget also allocated $12.4 million for new forensic equipment, including a 3D ballistics matching system, six mobile forensic vehicles, a 3D laser imaging system and up to 100 additional mobile fingerprint scanners. The funding would also go towards the establishment of NSW's first mitochondrial DNA laboratory, which could use mitochondrial DNA to solve cold cases and assist in mass disasters.
Minister for Police Michael Daley said the forensic upgrades would help both the police and victims of crimes. "This is about police having the very best resources, equipment and intelligence at their fingertips so they can continue to drive down crime across NSW," he said. "It's also about providing victims of crime with the justice and closure they so rightly deserve."
NSW Corrective Services will also receive $13.2 million for its ongoing technology infrastructure upgrade, which will provide additional functionality, including the integration of biometric identification systems with the Offender Database and an enhanced intelligence-processing system.
Education also saw a big windfall from Keneally's budget, with $78 million to be spent on classroom technologies over the next four years. In 2010/11, $42 million is expected to be spent as part of the government's Connected Classrooms initiative, which will see technology, such as interactive whiteboards, video-conferencing facilities and online learning tools distributed to NSW public schools. A further $5 million was also allocated to purchase 9000 laptops for high school teachers, similar to the current laptops for students initiative as part of the Federal Government's Digital Education Revolution.
For NSW health, continued funding of $76.4 million was allocated to ICT programs including continuing the roll-out of electronic medical records, medical imaging, business information and human resource systems. Funds have also been allocated in the 2010/11 budget for the development of a patient administration ICT system.
The Government Chief Information Office will see $34.5 million spent on information systems enhancements and computer replacement programs, with a further $7.5 million allocated to converting the Government Radio Network (GRN) from analog to digital. The government ICT services will be receiving $55.4 million, which includes management of the GRN and providing advice to government agencies to minimise risk and gain the best value from ICT. The GRN currently covers around a third of NSW and is used by over 40 government agencies, as well as emergency services.
For emergency services, $10.3 million will be spent on upgrading the Fire Brigade's information technology and station communications equipment, and $6.4 million will be used to establish a SAP human resources system for the emergency sector.
Government-funded shared services company, Businesslink, saw its expenses increase 22.6 per cent year on year — to almost $40 million — including $21.1 million for IT and property projects, and $6.2 million in IT costs for hardware, software and operations. In 2010/11, Businesslink will begin a $24.4 million asset acquisition program that will include IT projects such as:/br>
- Core information technology infrastructure upgrade program — $8.2 million
- Integrated accounts payable solution to manage the process for sourcing goods and services to payment — $4.5 million
- The Refresh and Growth in Information Technology Services Infrastructure program — $3.7 million
- A managed service providing computers and printers to clients — $3.4 million
- A funds management system — $1.7 million
- Service delivery management — $1.5 million
- Enhanced data storage and backup — $1 million