The NSW govt's budget was delivered on its new Oracle finance system

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The NSW govt's budget was delivered on its new Oracle finance system

State moves towards outcome budgeting.

The cash-flush NSW state budget released today was prepared and delivered for the first time on the government's brand new budget management system.

NSW Treasury gave PwC $25.5 million last April to build its Oracle-based 'Prime' budget management and reporting system, as part of its wider financial management transformation (FMT) project.

Oracle was paid $6 million for the software.

The project aimed to give the NSW government real-time data on all spending decisions as they are being made, to make tracking expenditure and the performance of policies much more effective.

The Prime platform replaced the aged treasury online entry system (TOES) and the capital expenditure database (CAPTOES), alongside a handful of other financial information systems.

NSW Treasury had been working towards the overhaul since 2012, when a commission of audit [pdf] found too much time was being spent on manual data entry, and discrepancies were appearing between the central budget database and agency finance systems.

Today's budget is the first to be delivered on the "world-class" Prime system, the state government said in budget papers. Government agencies this year reported their financial data into Prime, with the information structured around programs they provide to the community.

"This is the first time in New South Wales where both financial and performance information is readily available in one central IT platform for all the agencies in the NSW public sector," it wrote.

"This will provide the government with integrated financial and performance information, supported by detailed analytics."

The platform's arrival is a "significant and strategic step" in the state government's ambition to start outcome budgeting next year.

Outcome budgeting aligns resources with results, allocating money not by adjustments on last year's spend but by outcomes the organisation wants to achieve.

"This journey begins with the delivery of a new whole-of-government financial management system, Prime, and will be followed by new legislation to replace and modernise a 30-year-old legislative framework," the state said in its budget papers.

"The government is committed to building the capability and systems to embed the transformation.

"In the 2018-19 budget all program groups will begin to be restructured to align with outcomes, for the total budget spend. It will also include performance indicators tracking each outcome."

Across 2017-18 Treasury has been given $9.9 million in new money towards the financial management transformation program.

It will use the funds to tweak Prime based on agency feedback, and improve the platform's strategic planning, data analysis, and program review capabilities.

The NSW budget for 2017 overall delivered a $4.5 billion surplus despite significant ongoing investments in infrastructure, thanks in large part to income from property stamp duty and the privatisation of assets.

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