NSW Government hands Digital Restart Fund a $500 Million Budget boost


By Staff Writer

The New South Wales Government handed down its 2021/22 Budget on Tuesday. The Treasurer, Dominic Perrottet has committed $500 million over the next three years to the Digital Restart Fund and a further $38.3 million over four years to the state’s Data Analytics Centre.

The Digital Restart Fund is a flagship NSW Government program that fosters multi-disciplinary approaches to planning, designing, and developing digital products and services in NSW. With Tuesday’s additional monies, the fund’s budget is increased to $2.1 billion.

As a result of the additional funding, the NSW Government plans to rollout several new digital products and services over the next year. Dominic Perrottet lauded the existing range of digitised government services already available in NSW. He said the extra $500 million will help “expand digital services, so they are there whenever you need them, wherever you are.”

$280.2 million of the $500 million IT package will go to the Ministry of Health’s Single Digital Patient Record – Phase 1 Project. The NSW Government says by boosting care coordination across hospital and other settings, the quality and safety of care for patients will improve.

Service NSW will also pick up an additional $130 million under the 2021/22 budget. The Service NSW funding will aid the development of popular Service NSW digital platforms.

“We want to save customers time and money when interacting with Government, and technology is a critical part of the solution,” says Minister for Digital and Minister for Customer Service Victor Dominello.

“This funding also allows us to build on popular products like the Digital Driver Licence, FuelCheck and Park’nPay, while also uplifting our cyber and information security systems.”

Despite previous NSW Government announcements highlighting the importance of cybersecurity measures, Tuesday’s budget was light on specific cybersecurity funding commitments. The Department of Communities and Justice had $85 million in cybersecurity specific funding set aside over the next four years. That amount is in addition to the $32.5 million the department received last year to counter cybersecurity risks.

In a statement, Victor Dominello said the Departments of Education, Planning Industry and Environment, Premier and Cabinet, Communities and Justice, Police, Transport for NSW, and the Ministry of Health would all have non-specific cyber security projects funded “to improve the security of operating systems and applications and proactively manage cyber security threats.”

Cybersecurity experts have criticised the NSW Government’s failure to put more money into targeted cybersecurity programs. Ian Yip, CEO of cybersecurity software company Avertro says cybersecurity received little attention in Tuesday’s budget.

“While the budget includes $500 million of additional funding allocated to the $2.1 billion Digital Restart Fund, only about $30 million in total appears to have been allocated to cyber,” Yip says.

Allocating 6% of what is supposedly a digital transformation spend to cyber is not proportionate to the cyber-risk that the NSW Government is exposed to on a daily basis.”

Avertro’s CEO said the budget contributed little to building NSW’s cyber-resilience capabilities.