Despite the absence of big ticket ICT projects in the Victorian Liberal Government’s first $8.7 billion budget, ICT has emerged in a key supporting role and initiatives have accumulated into a significant pool of ICT funding.
Intermedium’s analysis of the Victorian State Budget 2011-12 reveals an ICT presence in initiatives across the Government including flood recovery, health, emergency services, and business services among others.
Government-wide flood response initiatives include $10.1 million allocated to repair and improve the flood warning network, as well as to develop a web-based, computer-generated flood intelligence platform. Budget documents state that the initiative will “simulate and depict flood behaviour in geographical information systems format” and “this will allow for a more effective emergency response to floods for a greater number of communities across the state”.
The Victorian Department of Health has also received funding for new ICT initiatives including a health performance website intended to make the performance of public hospitals emergency departments, ambulance services and outpatient services publicly accessible.
According to the budget, this initiative, has been funded under the $89.5 million Waiting List and Emergency Department Reform project and “will increase transparency and empower patients in making decisions about health services they use”.
However the high profile HealthSMART project is facing uncertainty, with future funding commitments on hold while the project is reviewed.
Emergency Services received a boost with $6.5 million allocation for the Department of Justice to upgrade communications equipment and the Metropolitan Fire and Emergency Services Board received $8.7 million for IT upgrades and for the Next generation response - mobile data network.
The Government also reflected on the importance of ICT in supporting the State’s businesses with the Department of Business and Innovation receiving a $9.6 million in funding for the continued operation of Business Victoria Online.
The Department also received $400,000 funding for the Collaborative Networks Technology Transfer initiative which aims to establish networks between industry and the private sector through which technology may be shared and shaped for specific industry needs.
Minister for Innovation Louise Asher said the initiative will improve crucial commercial relationships.
“It will establish formal commercialisation networks between industry and the private sector and develop a suitable showcase to further promote the commercial technology opportunities identified through the initiative,” she said.
The State Library of Victoria has also received a funding boost of $5.6 million in order to meet the increased demand for digitally delivered information. In a media release, Premier and Minister for the Arts Ted Baillieu noted that the Library had experienced a 117% increase in online visitation over the last five years, with 280,000 items from the Library’s collection made available online.
A comprehensive view of the ICT opportunities in the Victorian State Budget 2011-12 is available in Intermedium’s Budget IT report which identifies all ICT initiatives described in the Budget. Intermedium’s Annual Victorian Budget Briefing, to be held in Melbourne on Wednesday 8 June.