Both Queensland and NSW released their 2022-23 Budgets on the winter solstice, Tuesday 21 June.
Intermedium’s full analysis, breaking down the ICT components and implications of both budgets will be coming soon, but for now here’s a sneak preview!
The NSW Budget shows a blowout in government spending, but its digital outlay is subdued compared to recent budgets. $13.7 billion has been earmarked for measures that will increase the state’s economic productivity by encouraging and enabling women to join the workforce, inlcuding increased daycare and pre-K for children, and “future economy” investments in R&D, technology commercialisation, and the green economy.
On the ICT front, a number of initiatives have been announced that will be funded out of the existing $2.1 billion allocation to the Digital Restart Fund (DRF), which does not appear to have received any additional top-up funding. These include an e-Regulation platform ($38.8M), a refresh of the Valnet land valuation platform ($19.8M), an inbound patient referrals platform ($20M), integration of medical records into a patient experience platform ($20M), and $33.1M in cyber security upgrades across several NSW Government agencies.
Outside of the DRF, the big winner was the NSW Government Telecommunications Authority, which received $145.7 million for a critical communications paging network. Pagers are still valuable communications tools in emergency response situations as their networks are reliable and not prone to congestion. Emergency services continue to attract considerable funding, with $297.3M to be spent on the ongoing phases 3 and 4 of the Critical Communications Enhancement Program in 2022-23, and $85.6M on an Emergency Services Messaging Platform over four years.
Other key new ICT spending items include $96.3 million for improved police car digital systems and linkage of body-worn cameras to guns and tasers, $53.7 million for the Digital Baby Book health and community records integration program, $48.7 million for an ICT infrastructure asset refresh program, and $31.3 million for the spatial digital twin.
The Palaszczuk Government is brimming with confidence that Queensland will continue to attract jobs and talent, and willing to make commensurate investments in public infrastructure. In his Budget speech, Treasurer Cameron Dick emphasised the state is outpacing all others for net interstate migration (in 2020-21) and creating new jobs. He also notes “the starter’s gun has sounded” on the decade-long race towards the Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
The budget includes significant new ICT funding in the health and justice portfolios
There is an additional $300 million over five years to continue the roll out of the Digital Hospital Electronic Medical Records System. The state’s new capital investments in health and mental health infrastructure will certainly require further ICT support. The government has pledged $9.78 billion over six years to build four new hospitals and get to work on extensions to almost a dozen others. There is a further $1.6 billion for mental health services over five years and $334 million over 10 years for the Royal Flying Doctors Service.
The justice system will receive total funding of $246.8 million over five years (and $27.4 million ongoing) to upgrade its ICT infrastructure. The Queensland police will get $16.5 million for Body Worn Cameras (BWC) over four years and $5.3 million per annum ongoing from 2026-27, much of which will need to be spent on video file data storage. There is $1.6 million earmarked to replace the state’s Weapons Licensing Management System.
Other new ICT spending initiatives include $5.2 million over four years (and $1.2 million per annum ongoing) to upgrade electorate office software and ICT equipment, and $562,000 over 4 years (and $171,000 per annum ongoing) for electorate office CCTV cameras.
There is an extra $9.3 million over two years for Rural Water Futures (RWF), which includes a digital water management program, and $7.1 million over four years for water modelling technical assessments. The Queensland Emergency Operations Centre gets $14 million over six years to modernise and maintain critical ICT and Audio-Visual infrastructure.
The Department of Communities, Housing and Digital Economy budget includes an extra $1 million for the ‘Digital Economy Foundations’ program; $1.9 million for the development of a Queensland Digital Infrastructure Plan; and a further $3.6 million over four years to accelerate the digitisation of the Audio-Visual and other archival public records.