​Service NSW receives AU$415m funding boost in 2016-17 Budget

The New South Wales government has handed down its 2016-17 Budget, sinking an additional AU$415 million into the state's service delivery agency.
Written by Asha Barbaschow, Contributor

The New South Wales government has injected AU$415 million into Service NSW, the state's one-stop shop for service delivery.

The cash boost comprises AU$329 million in recurrent funding and AU$86 million capital to continue the rollout of the Service NSW customer service network which Treasurer Gladys Berejiklian said will be with increased digital capability.

The NSW government became the frontrunner in digitalising its services in July 2014, launching Service NSW to bring together a number of different state services under the one office, including RMS; Births, Deaths and Marriages; and small business support. As of February 2016, the Service NSW website showed that there were 95 shopfronts across the state.

The 2016-17 funding injection includes AU$50 million to offer more agency transactions through the Service NSW network in a bid to see 70 percent of government transactions via digital channels by 2019.

Well on its way, Service NSW introduced online driver's licence renewals earlier this month, allowing licence holders to renew online via their Service NSW digital account.

The new service now allows those eligible to renew their licence for up to five years and if a customer's existing identification photograph is deemed acceptable, the new licence will be issued by post within 10 business days.

Minister for Finance, Services and Property Dominic Perrottet originally announced last November that the state would begin the distribution of digital licences in mid-2016.

Digital versions of the Recreational Fishing Licence, the Responsible Service of Alcohol Card, and the Responsible Conduct of Gambling Competency Cards will be the first, and will be available on an opt-in basis, with consumers given the choice between a digital licence, a physical card, or both.

The NSW government hopes to add an additional five licences to the digital wallet by 2017, with the driver's licence, flagged as the most popular licence type, scheduled for digitisation in 2018.

The Service NSW smartphone app for iOS and Android received an update in February, which now enables users to view, pay, and contest infringement notices.

The update to the app sees a user receive a mobile alert shortly after incurring a road or traffic fine. They will also be able to view photographs of the incident, pay the fine, and nominate the correct driver from the app.

Previously, Martin Hoffman, Secretary of the NSW Department of Finance, Services and Innovation, said it is a challenge to get beyond the glitz and the glamour of digital services, in order to get the overall system right, adding that the state government wants to see 70 percent of its services through a digital channel by 2019.

"It goes without saying, obviously, [digital] is how customers want to interact. Success so far with Service NSW does show that it can be done," he said. "God built the world in seven days, but he didn't have legacy systems to deal with."

Service NSW was given AU$362 million in last year's Budget to increase the number of digital interactions between consumers and government, and to roll out a further 27 one-stop shops across the state.

The 2016-17 Budget also includes the establishment of the AU$25 million Sydney School of Entrepreneurship, which hopes to foster innovation and nurture startups, and a AU$14 million injection into research and studies in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

The state will kick off the new financial year with virtually zero debt, a surplus of AU$3.4 billion from 2015-16, and a forecast 2016-17 surplus of AU$3.7 billion.

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