South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill is leading the charge on ICT reforms for the state – with a new strategy canvassing “across-government” innovation – but with a closer scrutiny of spending programmes.
Doing more with less is the mantra for the state’s “South Australia Connected – Ready for the Future” position paper. This paper, being circulated across communities and industry, crystallises core policy reforms for 2013-2014.
While short on detail about technologies-of-choice, this paper seeks community and industry feedback. It one of one several documents refining South Australia’s reforms for ICT innovation and service delivery. Details can be found at SA Plan.
During an ICT Strategy launch, Premier Weatherill said that technology contributes significantly to the state’s economy. In South Australia, there are more than 22,000 ICT workers – comparable in employment terms with the hospitality and financial services industry.
The state government hires nearly 8 per cent of these ICT workers. The annual spend on ICT goods and services is more than US$500 million (AU$$500 million).
This annual spending is a significant outlay, noted Premier Weatherill. It requires a more astute, cost-effective and innovative approach to the way money is being spent. The government’s strategy document cautions against big bang ICT spending projects.
Premier Weatherill said that being “ICT-savvy” is part of developing good policy, better services, greater efficiency, and more prosperity.
Between 2013-2014, the South Australian government is rolling out several new projects – building on previous initiatives. Among these, a real‑time Adelaide Metro information service is being offered across Adelaide City.
Metro commuters, using desktop browsers or smartphone apps, will be able to track bus, tram or train timetables across designated stops.
An ambulance Mobile Connect SA service is being enhanced. This service uses high‑speed connections to state-wide ambulances. This offering is supported by real‑time access to incident details and critical patient data. The project, when fully operational, improves inter‑agency mobilisation and communication during emergencies.
Moreover, CareConnect – SA Health’s strategy, previously called CareConnect, is streamlining state‑wide electronic health record management programmes. This initiative helps integrate citizen health records across public hospitals, health professionals and health services.
Previous projects have included a multi‑award winning internet portal to access government services and information. Additionally, an on-line registration EzyReg service is enabling customers to renew motor vehicle registration.
EzyReg users can access a secure, on‑line payment system through a desktop or smartphone. During 2011-12, almost 300 000 renewals were processed on‑line, offering nearly US$550,000 (AU$550 000) in staff savings.
Insights about South Australia’s ICT reforms come under the spotlight at the Annual FutureGov Forum being held Tuesday 28th May (Wellington). Chris Dalton, currently with the Department of Premier and Cabinet, is a panellist at the May forum. He shares insights about citizen engagement and participation for South Australia, together with Australian, US, and New Zealand officials.