NSW MP and Parliamentary Secretary for Transport Penny Sharpe has started the government 2.0 ball rolling in NSW, launching an event called NSWsphere modelled on Senator Kate Lundy's successful Public Sphere event in Canberra.
(Credit: Penny Sharpe)
"Since I've been elected, I've been really interested in how technology can improve democratic processes," Sharpe said. She attended Lundy's event and thought there was no reason something similar shouldn't be done in NSW. She met with enthusiasm on the idea, and cultivated it.
"There are direct applications at the state level of government for a better approach for the use of web 2.0 tools in government," she told ZDNet.com.au. "That's why I wanted to run a NSW specific one."
The MP hopes to use the event to discuss why government should use the tools: how they help improve openness in government, collaboration in service delivery and allow citizens to take more ownership over the democratic process.
Sharpe said that she believed web 2.0 tools should be canvassed by showcasing examples where it already existed and tapping people who had great ideas for the government to adopt. "It's basically to provide the NSW Government some excellent examples and ideas to take away and take action on," she said.
There was a big gap between where early adopters had reached and where normal management in the public sector was at, Sharpe said. Closing that would not be a one step process. The MP's idea was to get people and ideas together to increase exposure to the technologies in government.
Sharpe has already received some comments as to the realities and difficulties of implementing such applications in government and hopes to draw out some of those barrier issues in the discussion.
After the session, to be held on 4 September at Parliament House, Macquarie St Sydney, a wiki will be made available where people will be able edit a paper on the issues and provide concrete suggestions.
Those contributing to the debate via social media are to use the twitter tag #nswsphere or blog with the tag nswsphere or NSWsphere.
Sharpe hoped to achieve a more user-friendly government. "[I'd like] better awareness in government, more examples of open source data that people can use and work with," she said. "I would hope for ideally even for better access to Hansard. I do an audit every year of websites. I'd be happy if all our MPs had a website. They don't even have that, so small steps."