The need to invest in ICT has fallen into the background for South Australia, with the state budget, released yesterday, focusing on re-establishing and maintaining its operating surpluses.
The government has flagged a $263 million operating deficit for the 2011/12 financial year, down from its $81 million surplus prediction at its mid-year budget review, leaving little room for the state to invest in IT infrastructure.
The largest technological project to have funding set aside appears to be a $50 million computerised, automatic train protection system for Adelaide's metropolitan rail network. The state will contribute $35 million over four years to the system, which will ensure that speed limits and signals are obeyed.
In terms of health, the state government, in partnership with the commonwealth, is providing $36.7 million over four years to provide extra digital mammography technology resources for breast screening services.
The state has also set aside $2.5 million for extra support for the State Emergency Information Call Centre.
These investments represent about 16 per cent of the state's total new expenditure of $477.2 million (which doesn't include funds spent on initiatives to provide savings) over the next four years.
The ability of ICT technology to provide savings has been recognised, with the state making a $10.5 million investment over four years to transfer information communication technology services to Shared Services SA. It will save the state $1 million in 2013/14, $3 million in 2014/15 and $6 million each year from 2015/16.
Additionally, the Office of Consumer and Business Affair's introduction of an online payment and management system for residential tenancy bonds will provide the state with savings of $120,000 in 2013/14 and $245,000 each year from 2014/15.