Skills shortage behind Digital Restart funding pause: Dominello

The flagship of the Government of New South Wales The investment vehicle for digital projects was not completed in this year’s state budget due to Treasury concerns over labor market constraints.

State Customer Service and Digital Government Minister Victor Dominello said a request for additional funding was made for the Digital Restart Fund, but the offer was ultimately rejected.

“I made a pitch to the Treasury. I wanted it completed, but Treasury told us we were having supply issues,” he said during a budget estimates hearing on Tuesday.

“The challenge is… there just isn’t enough supply [in the market] in relation to the talents that present themselves; the coders, the engineers that we need to make the product.

NSW Customer Service Minister Victor Dominello

Mr Dominello, who launched a cybersecurity operations center for NSW Police on Monday after some delay, said the government faced the same problems finding “people in the cyber industry”.

“Everyone is poaching right now, and that’s why the prime minister, to his credit, is hosting this jobs summit,” he said.

The Digital Restart Fund was created with an initial $100 million in Budget 2019 to create consistent, reusable platforms across government, improving digital services.

Additional funding worth $1.6 billion and $500 million was provided in 2020 and 2021, extending the fund through the end of the 2023-2024 fiscal year.

But no new funding was provided this year despite a total of $42 million in new spending initiatives by the government.

Mr Dominello rejected suggestions that the government should limit its digital initiatives without new funding, pointing out that there was already “a very strong pipeline of deliverables”.

“We have a delivery pipeline that will continue for several years, but Treasury has asked us to continue with our offering, which we will,” he said.

He said that by suspending funding for a year, the Treasury argued that the government “could catch up”.

NSW Chief Information and Digital Officer Greg Wells told the committee that 251 projects have been funded through the Digital Restart Fund to date, with $242 million remaining for projects over the next two months. years.

“Of the $2.2 billion, $1.945 billion was allocated to projects,” he said.

“So, excluding a small contingency amount, there is $242 million that has been set aside for the project as part of the pipeline…but has not yet been allocated.”

The government is currently using the fund to fund key projects like a statewide single digital patient record project and a patient app that will be linked to My Health Record.

Funding to the tune of $315 million has also been earmarked for a range of cybersecurity improvements, including to the Department of Communities and Justice, Service NSW, Department of Planning, Industry and ‘Environment, Ministry of Education and Treasury.

Do you know more? Contact James Riley by email.

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