NSW Budget kickstarts IT projects

The New South Wales Budget has focused on transport infrastructure and maintaining the government's AAA credit rating, but IT was not left out.

The New South Wales Budget has focused on transport infrastructure and maintaining the government's AAA credit rating, but IT was not left out.

NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell said that the 2012-2013 Budget delivered today would focus on providing essential services and investing $1 billion per year in infrastructure, at a time when GST revenue and economic uncertainty meant purse strings were tight.

"This is a Budget delivered in difficult economic circumstances, but the NSW Government will continue to invest in critical infrastructure to build for the future," O'Farrell said. "This Budget takes the tough decisions necessary, to ensure a sustainable financial future for our State, while also continuing our investment in those areas where it’s most needed, including health, education and transport," he said.

Much of the budget's IT spending is focused on kick starting long-planned projects or continuing planned upgrades.

The government's much-anticipated integrated electronic ticketing system, known as Opal, received $124 million in the budget. The funding will go to the implementation of the system, which is due to begin rolling out on Sydney Ferries in December 2012. The wider roll-out across rail will occur in 2013, while buses are to receive the system in 2014.

$13 million will be dedicated to the development and implementation of the state government's whole-of-goverment policies and strategies for IT procurement and financing, the budgetary papers have revealed.

As part of a $159 million investment in fair trading law enforcement, the government will also complete an essential upgrade of the online Customer Assistance System.

Government schools are set to get IT upgrades, as part of $133 million in funding for infrastructure projects in NSW schools. TAFE NSW also receives $76 million in funding for the commencement or continuation of 27 building and IT-related projects.

The government has dedicated $23 million to manage NSWs' archives and records, and will build the capacity into the system to "accept, preserve and make available its digital records".

The New South Wales Police Force has been given $39 million for technology upgrades, including the upgrade of its core operational policing system, a SAP upgrade, a LiveScan hardware refurbishment and a shared image-management system storage extension.

Transgrid will spend $84 million in 2012-13 on replacing its Sydney West control room with new IT and fibre.

Sydney Water will spend $61 million on IT assets and systems upgrades.

Emergency services and law enforcement picked up funding for a number of projects, including; $6.3 million in funding for the emergency alert system that sends warning messages to fixed or mobile phones, $16 million for an upgrade to the Rural Fire Service's private mobile radio network, $3.8 million for improved communications equipment and associated training equipment for Fire and Rescue NSW, and $2 million for a joint project between the NSW Police and the courts, which aim to improve electronic data exchange across the criminal justice system.

Funding for the Science Leveraging Fund and National ICT Australia will be combined into a $13 million Research Attraction and Acceleration program, to "support innovation and continued investment" in R&D in NSW.

Updated at 12.51pm, 13 June 2012: added additional funding found in the Budget.


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