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All the tech in SA’s 2018-19 Budget

by Tajna Biscevic •
Free resource

SA’s first Liberal government in 16 years has allocated funding towards several election commitments, including both front-line modernisation and back-office initiatives. With a $397 million deficit, however, South Australia’s 2018-19 budget prioritises major public service reform .

The Marshall Government has earmarked $500,000 in 2018-19 and ongoing funding of $1.5 million per annum over three years to establish the South Australian Productivity Commission. The Commission will “provide advice on measures to cut red-tape, improve government services, and deliver economic reform”.

A review into Service SA is expected to deliver $18.8 million in savings by improving efficiency through the digitisation of processes and by improving online services.

The government also expects to save $6.4 million per annum over four years by replacing the Labor government’s model of promoting entrepreneurship, including the Tech in SA program. $27.9 million across the forward estimates will go towards the establishment of an innovation, start-up and growth hub as well as a new grants program, the Research, Commercialisation and Start-up Fund.

Whole of Government (WofG) ICT measures received very little funding, but Budget Papers cited the government’s upcoming targets which include:

  • Developing an action plan for providing data-driven service innovation, entrepreneurship and economic opportunities;
  • Developing digital capabilities in collaboration with government agencies “to support a seamless experience for South Australians”;
  • Establishing a Cyber Security Innovation Node, as part of the Australia Government Cyber Security Growth Network initiative, to lead the maturity of cyber security across government; and
  • Publishing “the D3 Digital Online Toolkit” to foster entrepreneurialism and innovation in the development of digital solutions for South Australians.


Security systems in correctional facilities will be replaced “in recognition that analogue technology is at the end of its useful life”. The new digital electronic security systems will receive $9 million over two years from 2020-21.

$950,000 in 2019-20 will fund a crime-prevention pilot in the state’s prisons by jamming contraband mobile phones, preventing prisoners from committing further crimes and facilitating the flow of drugs and other contraband into prisons.

$4.2 million over two years will go towards upgrading the South Australia’s Computer-Aided Dispatch (SACAD) system, with $3.2 million to be spent in 2018-19. SACAD is the main information management system supporting the state's emergency services.

According to budget papers “the upgrade project will replace all components of the SACAD system, which integrates police, ambulance and emergency services' response to emergencies.” $22.8 million was allocated towards upgrading SACAD in the 2013-14 budget, which was due for completion in 2015.

$2.6 million in 2018-19, with ongoing funding of $866,000 per annum each year thereafter, will go towards replacing the state’s Alert SA app – a public safety service providing warnings from a range of emergency and essential service agencies. $1.5 million of the funding is slated for developing a new solution.

A total of $7.5 million – $1.7 million in 2018-19 and $4.8 million in 2019-20 – will go towards upgrading the Independent Commissioner Against Corruption’s (ICAC) IT systems.

$1.7 million will go towards IT systems upgrades at the Attorney-General’s Department to support administrative changes to liquor licensing.


A total of $7.5 million over three years is set to fulfil the Marshall Government’s election promise of real-time prescription monitoring. $5.5 million in 2019-20 and $1 million per annum from 2020–21 will fund the software’s roll-out. According to Pulse IT, “despite having a license to use the national electronic recording and reporting of controlled drugs (ERRCD) system, SA Health has not yet implemented it”.

A further $5 million will be directed towards implementing “a single statewide enterprise chemotherapy prescribing system”.

$2.3 million over three years will form SA’s contribution to the Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA). Budget papers cite key ADHA projects as “establishing national secure messaging infrastructure that will support statewide secure messaging capability” and “defining the future capabilities of the national database of health records (My Health Record)”.

SA’s electronic patient records solution, the Enterprise Patient Administration System (EPAS), received a further $3 million in 2018-19. Announced in 2012-13, the EPAS is expected to consolidate and standardise multiple health legacy systems into an integrated state-wide health record allowing real-time access to clinical information across the health system.

Originally budgeted to cost $408 million over ten years to 2021 – including Federal Government funding  – the total cost is now closer to $470 million. The Marshall Government announced a review into the useability, value for money, and the security of the EPAS system in June 2018, after pressure from Nick Xenophon’s SA-BEST Party.

“Medical and IT professionals alike have questioned whether the EPAS is fit-for-purpose – or indeed, workable at all,” stated Xenophon after doctors claimed the system was slowing down emergency care, threatening patient safety and blowing out waiting lists. The roll-out of EPAS has also suffered delays and cost blow-outs.


$2.5 million will go towards establishing a SA Public Transport Authority (SAPTA) to oversee operational and customer service matters. SAPTA will investigate how to make public transport customer friendly and efficient.

A public transport services review has been established and is expected to provide $1.1 million in savings in 2018-19, increasing to $14.8 million in 2019-20, $15.2 million in 2020-21 and $15.5 million in 2021-22. The review is expected to “improve the efficiency of the public transport network through reviewing duplicated or low patronised services across the bus and rail network”.


  • $14.3 million over four years from 2018-19 will go towards an organisational redesign of the Department for Energy and Mining which will see increased focus on the delivery of geoscience data and information delivery under the Plan for Accelerating Exploration
  • $10 million over three years to address mobile phone black spots across SA
  • Revenue SA’S ongoing Information On-line system (RIO) receives $3.6 million in 2019-20 for ongoing maintenance and improvement
  • $4 million over four years is earmarked for a Space Innovation Fund, in attempts to attract Australia’s new space agency to the state. Budget papers state the funding will go “to support space entrepreneurs, create an incubator for space projects and an environment where new space technologies can be rapidly developed and brought to market.”
  • $1.6 million in 2018-19 will go towards a ‘Masterpiece System’ for Shared Services SA. The system is expected to cost $3.2 million and be completed in 2022
  • $850 000 for a Budget and monitoring system upgrade at the Department of Treasury and Finance
  • $534 000 for further information systems enhancements at Revenue SA
  • $200 000 in 2018-19 will go towards implementing system enhancements to Concessions SA which are expected to streamline administration and service delivery processes and achieve efficiencies
  • $150 000 in 2018-19 has been earmarked for a personal protection app as part of a domestic violence package. The app will link at-risk individuals directly to SA Police and women’s domestic violence services

Detailed analysis of the budget papers is currently being undertaken by Intermedium. A detailed list of 2018-19 funded ICT initiatives, along with estimates of ICT Operational Expenditure will soon be available in Budget IT. All other state, territority and Federal ICT budget information is already available to subscribers in Budget IT.

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