NSW government plans to digitise school forms

Starting with introducing online enrolments at all public primary schools.
Written by Aimee Chanthadavong, Contributor

The New South Wales government has announced it wants to eventually digitise all school forms at public primary schools, starting with giving parents the option to enrol their children online via their local school website.

Minister for Education Sarah Mitchell said offering online enrolments as an alternative to handwritten applications would save parents and school administration teams time.

"A single paper enrolment form can take 40 minutes to process, whereas schools using online enrolment can complete up to six enrolment applications in just 30 minutes," she said.

"What was formerly a 16-page form will now be a streamlined experience."

As the rollout of online enrolments continues to all public primary schools by 2021, the state government said it is already looking at digitising other frequently used school forms. This will include parent-teacher interview bookings, student absences, and HSC subject selection.

"We want to cut the number of physical forms down from 85 to a more manageable level," Minister for Customer Service Victor Dominello said.

"Currently, parents and carers spend more than six million hours a year filling these forms out, and school staff spend 11 million hours processing them.

"The current model is outdated, and this digital solution is a winner for families and staff."

Paper enrolment, however, will remain available, the NSW government said.

The state government also recently announced that under new legislation, the witnessing of legal documents such as wills, powers of attorney, and statutory declarations would continue to be allowed over a video conference. This can either be done on a hard copy, which is scanned and sent to the witness, or the witness signs a copy of the document.  

The legislation is an extension of existing arrangements that were introduced in April during the COVID-19 pandemic to reduce non-essential personal contact.

The initial arrangements to enable remote witnessing was valid until September 2020, but the new legislation will extend these arrangements until the end of 2021.

In addition, the NSW government has updated its Live Traffic NSW website to provide road disruption information for drivers across NSW, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, and the ACT.

The one-stop shop website shows when roads have been impacted by fire, flood, show, roadworks, crashes, or more, across all five states by consolidating multiple data feeds into the one platform.  

In the updated version, users can also use the map to input a journey to discover incidents on their route and how it impacts their travel. 

"We're very proud that Transport for NSW has brought together different government agencies to provide more information to communities during an emergency situation and road users travelling interstate," NSW Minister for Transport Andrew Constance.  

Elsewhere, the Tasmanian government has rolled out the NSW government's real-time fuel price comparison app, FuelCheck, in the Apple Isle, as part of a fee-for-service partnership.

Dubbed FuelCheck Tas, the app provides citizens with real-time updates on petrol prices across the state. It comes as the Tasmanian government introduced new legislation that makes real-time fuel price reporting mandatory.

FuelCheck was introduced by the NSW government in 2016 and was developed by the Department of Customer Service. 

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