Transport for NSW has emerged as a key beneficiary of the 2012-13 state budget, nabbing close to $175 million for ICT projects that include smartcard ticketing and train safety systems.
The state's cluster of transport agencies will receive $124 million in the next financial year to begin implementing the Opal card – "an integrated electronic ticketing system for greater Sydney – which begins rolling out on Sydney Ferries in December 2012".
Another $50 million has been allocated to the automatic train protection (ATP) project, which involves rolling out electronic beacons and computers across the rail network that can automatically trigger braking in a safety situation.
It was an otherwise dour budget for ICT initiatives with only a few projects receiving substantial funding.
NSW Treasurer Mike Baird told parliament today that the Government had exercised "fiscal restraint" and would continue to look "to rein in expenses".
"We have taken many difficult decisions, some will not be popular, but they are the right decisions for challenging economic times," he said.
In the state's education portfolio, ICT is destined to share a pot of money that is also meant for building projects.
It was unclear how much funding would be spent specifically on ICT as opposed to construction.
The State Government allocated $133 million to 16 "major building projects at government schools", but said the funds could also be used to "carry out other significant works, such as enhancing information technology systems".
Likewise, TAFE NSW landed $76 million to start "ten new building and information technology projects and continue 17 major building and information technology projects".
ICT Strategy funding
Budget 2012 appears to provide the first funds towards a three-year ICT strategy launched by the State Government last month.
NSW finance minister Greg Pearce has previously noted that implementation of the strategy would be funded by the State Government typical ICT spend of $2 billion a year.
A key plank of that strategy is to establish a whole-of-government catalogue of business applications, email, productivity and IT infrastructure services.
The Budget papers allocate $13 million to "develop and implement whole-of-government policies and strategies for ICT, procurement and finance".
A further $20 million is set aside to "review corporate and shared services reform to make these services more streamlined and cost effective".
The full list of ICT-funded projects from Budget 2012 papers:
- $133 million "to continue 16 major building projects at government schools and carry out other significant works, such as enhancing information technology systems".
- $132 million "to provide shared transactional and corporate services to the Government, including procurement, property management, fleet, ICT, human resources, finance and business services."
- $124 million to implement the Opal card electronic ticketing system.
- $50 million on Automatic Train Protection.
- $76 million "to commence 10 new building and information technology projects and continue 17 major building and information technology projects in TAFE NSW."
- $10 million to grow the "overnight visitor economy" in Sydney and regional NSW with emphasis on social media campaigns and digital marketing innovation.
- $20 million "to review corporate and shared services reform to make these services more streamlined and cost effective."
- $16 million to continue upgrading the Rural Fire Service's private mobile radio and paging network.
- $13 million to develop and implement whole-of-government policies and strategies for ICT, procurement and finance.
- $6.3 million for the Emergency Alert system ($2.8 million of which is additional funding), "which allows the Government to issue warning messages to a landline or mobile phone."
- $5.7 million for the Audit Office of NSW to upgrade IT, enhance information systems and the audit methodology.
- $5.5 million to enhance the Working with Children Check system.
- $4.2 million over two years "to replace the system used to manage the arrangements for citizens to be enrolled and called for jury service."
- $3.8 million "for Fire and Rescue NSW to improve communications equipment, education and training equipment and firefighting equipment."
- $2 million "to begin a joint project with the NSW Police Force and courts which, over two years, will enhance and increase the electronic exchange of data to improve the efficiency, timeliness and accuracy of the criminal justice system."
- Rollover of funds from 2011-12 for a Treasury transformation project, including a new financial management system.