Oyster cards are on the way: NSW Premier

Summary:Sydney will get London-style Oyster transport cards, NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell has insisted.

Barry O'Farrell has admited that his government has been slow to embrace technology that's become a hallmark of other big cities around the world.

"I lead a government which has been slow to embrace technology," O'Farrell told the start of the CeBit Australia technology conference in Sydney on Tuesday.

"There has been a fog across government in this state."

O'Farrell said that he'll be in Hong Kong on Monday, and will use the province's Octopus Card — similar to London's Oyster — a single electronic ticket allowing travel on buses, trains or ferries.

The NSW government last year promised to introduce its own version — the Opal — but despite a trial on some ferry routes, it is yet to materialise.

"This city was promised one in time for the 2000 Olympics and it still hasn't arrived," Mr O'Farrell added.

"The good news is we are rolling it out — but we are slow to embrace the sorts of changes that are commonplace around the world."

He offered no further timescale.

The Premier also hinted at the introduction of a streamlined, web-based system for people to access government services, saying that Sydney had 350 government agencies, 8,000 different government phone numbers, and 900 websites.

The NSW government also on Tuesday announced that it had secured the right to host the CeBit conference, one of the world's premier technology trade fairs, until 2016.

The annual event is said to be worth $30 million to the local economy, attracting about 30,000 delegates internationally.

Topics: Government : AU, Australia

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