The South Australian Government has announced approximately $95 million in new ICT funding in the 2021-22 Mid-Year Budget Review (MYRB), released on 13 December. This means that almost one-fifth of the $511 million in new initiatives funding announced in the review has been earmarked for identifiable digital projects.
The largest of the tech initiatives is a $53.2 million investment towards digitising and streamlining public sector services. This will deliver a work program intended to simplify public and business interactions with the government. The funding also covers hiring 86 FTE staff to work on the project.
The South Australian Government has invested heavily in digital transformation in recent budgets, most notably through the four-year, $120 million Digital Restart Fund (DRF) introduced in the 2020-21 Budget. However, there was no mention of the DRF in the Mid-Year Budget Review. This suggests that the SA Government may not intend to continue topping it up with extra funding, unlike its NSW namesake (which has received multiple additional rounds of funding in subsequent budgets).
The other ICT initiatives introduced in the MYRB are:
- $10.7 million allocated in 2021-22 to reform the delivery of Across Government Facilities Management Arrangements (AGFMA). The funding will cover the transition to new arrangements, including decommissioning the existing AGFMA system, integrating the new operator’s asset management software, an inspection and asset data validation program, and developing a data warehouse. The new facilities management model is expected to avoid significant costs in replacing ageing asset management ICT systems and provide for a more cost-effective maintenance model.
- $8.5 million in 2021-22 (funded by the Commonwealth) to pilot a South Australian virtual care service. This service will create additional capacity in the state’s hospitals by providing patients with virtual access to specialist advice and case management.
- $5.5 million has been allocated towards replacing the Public Trustee’s ageing and unsupported customer accounting system.
- $2.2 million over two years to migrate the emergency service sector’s software infrastructure to a WofG ICT tenancy.
- $5 million over three years for the South Australian Discovery Mapping project to create a geoscience data asset and data platform to help facilitate new mineral discoveries.
- $1.5 million in 2021-22 for developing and maintaining critical COVID-19 applications such as the QR code check-in app and COVID-19 testing booking system.
- $4.1 million will be provided over two years to implement the South Australian Voluntary Assisted Dying Scheme, including designing an IT portal and application management system.
- An unspecified portion of a $12.3 million population growth initiative will go towards an online jobs platform to provide job seekers with career opportunities.
- Finally, $1.1 million in 2021-22, rising to $1.3 million per annum over three years from 2022-23, will go towards supporting the delivery of innovation precinct Lot Fourteen.