NSW government launches DigitalNSW platform and data marketplace

DigitalNSW acts as a recording tool for government agencies and their projects, while D Marketplace allows citizens to download multiple datasets on one site.
Written by Jonathan Chadwick, Contributor

DigitalNSW displays government departments and their digital projects on a single platform.

The NSW government has launched its DigitalNSW platform, a recording tool that showcases digital projects across all government departments.

Speaking at the launch of the platform in Sydney on Monday, Minister for Finance, Service and Property Victor Dominello said the new platform will enforce transparency over multiple digital projects undertaken by government agencies.

"Government is a beast with so many moving parts, and it's hard to find what you need easily," said Dominello. "Up until now, there is no whole government view of digital projects. We were hamstrung by a lack of recording, which meant agencies had no visibility across the clusters that they had."

Dominello said that now with DigitalNSW, rather than looking at 160 different agencies and their various websites, they'll all be on one page. Each cluster of government services, such as Health, Education, and Transport, will display their progress against the three priorities that form the state's Digital Government Strategy outlined by Dominello back in May: Data, Customer Experience, and Digital on the Inside.

Dominello also launched the D Marketplace, a data-sharing platform that allows citizens to access multiple datasets on the one site. Delivered with the help of DataRepublic and currently in beta, the platform collates data from multiple services, allowing citizens to search particular datasets based on business or personal needs.

Calling it "the TripAdvisor for data", Dominello said the marketplace -- which will be available to government agencies next week and the public in the first quarter next year -- provides tools for public consumption, such as spatial services or data on a map, which will lower barriers for data-sharing within government

"One of the problems we've had with open data is that it is too difficult for people to use because it is just thousands of unorganised datasets," said Dominello. "D Marketplace solves this problem by organising datasets around life events, such as moving to a new suburb or setting up a new business. In addition, it provides visualisation tools so that you transform cryptic data to insights instantaneously."

Dominello searched the marketplace for datasets that relate to moving house, as an example, such as schools in a local area. Once multiple schools are pinpointed on a map, other data can be overlaid, such as buses and petrol prices, to work out the best areas based on multiple factors.

Another capability, Fuel Check, displays fuel prices in the area and updates their prices in real-time, with the cheapest highlighted in red. As well as saving citizens money, a price mismatch can be reported, effectively meaning "every motorist becomes our law-enforcement agency", Dominello said.

Citizens will also be able to leave a comment to rate the dataset, "just like TripAdvisor or eBay".

Dominello added that the government is working to get more data onto the platform, which is "symbolic of greater cultural change within government".

"[D Marketplace] shows how we've simplified data, tailoring it to your needs and critically to the needs of public servants. They will now go here rather than bringing up different agencies. It's creating a far more comprehensive data culture inside of government," he added.

"We're putting the customer at the centre of everything we do -- in our case, the citizen. We're embracing technology and we're using data critically to drive outcomes. We want to ensure that dealing with government is a pleasant experience, one that matches the experience you can get from the likes of Apple, Uber, Airbnb, and Dropbox."

Dominello also touched upon the other digital initiatives the government is undertaking, such as the digital driver's licence trial that is up and running in Dubbo.

The trial, which will last for three months, allows Dubbo residents to use their digital licence for roadside police checks, as well as proof of identity and age in pubs and clubs. Over 1,000 Dubbo residents have already signed up for the trial, which the NSW government plans to follow up with a full statewide rollout.

Once rolled out, the digital driver's licence will join the recreational fishing fee, responsible service of alcohol, and responsible conduct of gambling competency cards in the digital wallet. NSW residents are already able to renew their driver's licence and view, pay, and contest infringement notices via the Service NSW smartphone app.

"NSW is leading the nation in government technology, and the number one reason is that we are determined to offer the best services to make life easier for the people of NSW," then Minister for Finance, Services and Property Dominic Perrottet previously said.

In May, Dominello unveiled the state's Digital Government Strategy, touted as a bold vision for transformation across the NSW public sector.

The three-faceted strategy is focused on customer experience, the government being digital on the inside, and is brought together through the use of data.

NSW invests AU$80 million in science and tech education

The NSW government also announced on Monday that it will be investing nearly AU$80 million in science and technology education.

State Premier Gladys Berejiklan announced the funding at Western Sydney University, saying it would be delivered over the next three years and help NSW take "the next steps towards a 21st-century education system".

AU$23 million of the funding will go towards proving schools with access to cutting-edge STEM equipment, while AU$25 million will set up the NSW STEM Foundation.

With AAP


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