NSW deepens digital partnership with Feds


The NSW Government’s customer service agency Service NSW has plugged into the Federal Government’s new Business Registration Service to offer a seamless service experience, deepening the interjurisdictional partnership between the two governments.

It is part of a wider plan by the Federal Government to use the newly redeveloped business.gov.au portal to simplify business registration and licensing services across the federal, state and territory governments.

The Whole-of-Government (WofG) registration service, which is currently in public beta, is a joint initiative of the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), Department of Industry, Innovation and Science (DIIS) and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, and allows businesses to apply for multiple business and tax registrations without having to contact agencies individually. $32.4 million was allocated in the 2015-16 budget for use between 2014-15 and 2018-19.  

Part of the initiative involves publishing APIs to allow third parties to embed the registration service and provide alternative methods of registering – an approach that the Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) is advocating across the Federal Government.

Speaking at the 2017 CeBit Conference yesterday, DIIS Acting Deputy Secretary David Hazlehurst said that Service NSW had now connected with the registration service to allow businesses to conduct all their affairs through the Service NSW platform.

“If you’re a restaurant, cafe or bar you can do all your permits and licences in one experience. And it's a seamless joined up experience; you can get all your Commonwealth stuff done as well, and the data flies through and pre-populates into Service NSW”, he said.

NSW has been one of the most eager jurisdictions to throw its support behind Federal Government initiatives in recent months, such as signalling its intention to integrate with the DTA’s GovPass digital identity platform so that NSW citizens can access both federal and state services through a single login. It is also the first jurisdiction to permit its agencies to procure IT services through the Federal Government’s Digital Marketplace.

Other state and territory governments can be expected to leverage the federal service over the next 12 months after DIIS received $9.1 million in the 2017-18 budget to allow businesses to access registration and licensing services through state and territory government websites or business.gov.au.

The move to integrate business registration services follows a complete redevelopment of the “old school” business.gov.au website so that it is “designed around the needs of business, and particularly around life events in business; starting a business, running a business and ending a business”, Hazlehust said.

Hazlehurst also said that all Federal Government services would soon allow for such integration through APIs.

A Request for Information for a WofG API Single Entry Point API Catalogue, referred to in documentation as the Government API Catalogue, was recently issued by the ATO. The catalogue is intended to provide an entry point for software developers to contribute to government services. This includes other government agencies that may wish to consume other government agency services.

While the API catalogue will initially seek to overcome the fragmented discovery process that software developers face when interacting with the ATO’s Standard Business Reporting (SBR) Program, RFI documents indicate that the catalogue “needs to be viewed in the context of the bigger picture”, which suggests that its scope will expand over time.

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