The NSW state government handed down its 2008-09 Budget last night, with a surprise spend on video conferencing for schools, a boost to health tech outlay, and a pledge to tighten ICT capital expenditure.
The NSW state government handed down its 2008-09 Budget last night, with a surprise spend on videoconferencing for schools, a boost to health tech outlay, and a pledge to tighten ICT capital expenditure.
NSW Treasurer, Michael Costa
Credit: NSW Parliament
NSW Treasurer Michael Costa said the state will cut ICT capital expenditure by AU$70 million for 2008-09.
The planned savings are to be made through the government's People First ICT procurement plan, which was first revealed in 2006 with the intention of cutting AU$565 million in ICT procurement, planning and recurrent expenditure over four years.
In addition to its intentions to save, the state Labor government also outlined new ICT spending commitments in the budget, which include AU$772 million for education and training technology initiatives over the next four years, with a AU$45 million outlay for the Connected Classrooms initiative — a project embracing videoconferencing as a means of linking schools statewide, in addition to the provision of interactive whiteboards and other information sharing tools.
A similar emphasis on health IT spending was also announced in the budget, with government estimates predicting a AU$56.5 million spend on health IT for 2008-09 alone. According to the state government, the money will be spent on upgrading a range of clinical, patient and corporate services IT systems — including a new state wide human resources information system, the implementation of a business information strategy, a new financial management system and extra funding for medical imaging technology.
Budget documents have revealed that AU$10.5 million of this funding will be set aside for the introduction of digital imaging technology for breast cancer screening at the Cancer Institute to improve the cancer detection process.