NSW passes digital transformation bill

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NSW passes digital transformation bill

Amends outdated, paper-based processes.

The NSW parliament has passed a digital transformation bill that amends legislation that was preventing the government from implementing some digital services.

The bill – officially known as the Electronic Transactions Legislation Amendment (Government Transactions) Bill 2017 – was introduced following the release of state’s latest digital transformation strategy last month.

It passed through both houses of parliament late last week unopposed.

The bill modernises 53 acts and five regulations that “contain requirements for traditional, outdated, or paper-based processes” to allow the government to serve certain documents electronically, such as via email.

“The bill is an important step forward in modernising the way the New South Wales government operates," Finance minister Victor Dominello said.

“Its main purpose is to enable digital transactions between the government and citizens, businesses or other organisations where they are not currently permitted or unclear.”

The bill also tweaks the Road Transport Act 2013 to allow the government to conduct a 12 month trial of digital drivers licences, which received $8.5 million in the latest budget.

“The amendment allows driver licensing information and photographs to be securely released by Roads and Maritime Services to the Department of Finance, Services and Innovation and Service NSW to create a digital driver licence and enable licence holders, via a Service NSW app, to display the digital driver licence," Dominello said.

Participants of the pilot will still be required to carry their physical drivers licence through the trial period.

The Finance department and NSW Police have already conducted a trial of the technology using fake data and test systems.

The government has a target of conducting 70 percent of government transactions through digital channels by 2019.

Last week’s state budget revealed that 56 percent of transactions were completed digitally during 2016-17 – seven points higher than the government had predicted – and was forecast to reach 63 percent during 2017-18.

The state’s one-shop services shop Service NSW currently provides 970 different types of government transactions online.

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