The Berejiklian Government is slashing $3.2 billion from the public service, including around 3,000 job cuts. Many of those affected will be back office and IT workers, according to the Treasurer. But the Government has found $100 million over the next two years for a “Digital Restart Fund”.
$100 million dollars in seed funding will go towards “whole-of-government digital transformation that will enhance customer experiences”, according to NSW Budget papers, released today.
“This transformation will include promoting the adoption of common platforms across government to remove duplication and increase efficiency,” the Budget papers said.
The NSW Government proposed the fund earlier this year, following claims in 2018 from then recently appointed CIO Greg Wells that the traditional funding model was “broken”.
At the time Wells said he was working with Treasury on an alternative approach, which he then revealed in March this year, telling IT News the digital restart fund is designed to “break down big, hard [funding] cycles into a more contemporary model”.
The new model is expected to deliver funding in smaller chunks to support more agile development, with Government agencies pitching for their share quarterly.
Elsewhere in the Budget, the highly praised Service NSW will receive $50 million over the next financial year to support the rollout of 10 new branches of the “one stop shop” for government services.
$3.2 billion cut ‘into the bone’
The digital spend comes at the same time as the Berejiklian Government is slashing $3.2 billion from the public sector, as revealed by Budget papers today. The Government claims frontline staff will be safe and most of the job losses will come from back offices, consultants, and contractors.
Public sector Unions have blasted the employee cuts.
“This government is no longer cutting fat, it’s actually cutting into the bone of the public sector,” said Unions NSW secretary Mark Morey.
Acting general secretary of the Public Service Association, Troy Wright, said there were no unnecessary back office employees for the government to shed.
“It’s based on a premise that around Sydney and around the state there are buildings of public servants sitting around doing nothing…can I assure every member of the public that those people don’t exist.”