NSW government pushes state-wide ICT plan

The NSW government has detailed progress on its plans to implement a four-year state-wide information and communications technology (ICT) plan and reform e-procurement as part of a wider strategy to save the state AU$2.5 billion in public sector costs.

The NSW government has detailed progress on its plans to implement a four-year state-wide information and communications technology (ICT) plan and reform e-procurement as part of a wider strategy to save the state AU$2.5 billion in public sector costs.

The government said today in an economic and financial statement it would establish a single capital fund for ICT in the forthcoming state budget, and develop a state-wide ICT plan to determine whole-of-government priorities.

A council of senior public sector chief information officers, already working on the plan, had identified capital savings for the coming year of AU$50 million and savings in operating expenditure of AU$20 million.

First priority would be to reduce the government's AU$260 million expenditure on voice telecommunications.

"We will be approaching the market by December this year with a new, aggregated contract to buy telecommunications services," the state government said.

The government said it aimed to save between AU$25 million and AU$75 million per year through the new contract, based on analysis by PricewaterhouseCoopers.

The CIO group had also approved technical specifications for personal computers, laptop and servers, while agreeing on government-wide procurement to reduce costs.

The state-wide ICT plan would be implemented within four years, at which point the approach would yield AU$125 million a year in capital savings and a further AU$80 million in recurrent savings, according to the government.

Also critical to the ICT savings plan was the government's electronic marketplace, Smartbuy.

In December, all major agencies were given a deadline of mid-2007 to implement the e-procurement service.

Currently 72 agencies use the service, with 10 more slated to join in the next six months.

The centralised procurement system had reaped savings of AU$8 million this financial year, according to the statement.

NSW Police has also been another beneficiary of technology funding. It is receiving up to AU$50 million per annum between 2003/04 and 2007/08 for projects including a mainframe replacement project, alcohol related crime information exchange, portable fingerprint devices, computer aided dispatch system, automatic number plate recognition, and a digital radio upgrade.

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