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South Australia sets aside $120 million for Digital Restart Fund

South Australia sets aside $120 million for Digital Restart Fund

The largest slice of the fund, $14.8M, is for a system upgrade for the Department for Innovation and Skills.

Credit: Dreamstime

The South Australian government's 2020-21 budget has allocated $120 million over a five-year period for an overhaul to digital interactions with businesses and individuals.

The so-called Digital Restart Fund is earmarked for projects that support “an improved digital experience and access to information for businesses and individuals dealing with government,” according to budget papers. 

State Treasurer Rob Lucas said this year’s budget was focused on providing an “even greater focus on whatever is needed to assist our state’s economic recovery” following the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The largest slice of the fund, $14.8 million, is set to be invested over a five-year period in a skills information system upgrade for the Department for Innovation and Skills to improve service delivery, data management and productivity. 

The state’s justice sector audio-visual link (AVL) technology is also seeing a hefty upgrade, with $13.7 million set aside. Combined with $505,000 from 2019-20's budget estimate, this brings the AVL upgrade up to $14.2 million. 

The state government is also looking to transition services onto a new portal, which is expected to cost $13.4 million over the next two years. 

Also due for an upgrade and replacement is the state's Consumer and Business Services systems for businesses and individuals, which will see a spend of $8 million over the next three years. 

Tap-on functionality for credit and debit cards across South Australia’s public transport system is also on the cards, with $7 million squared away for the next two years. 

In a longer-term spend, $3.7 million will be spent over the next four years for electronic roll mark-off in polling and pre-polling booths, an online portal for candidate lodgements and the ability to apply for a postal vote online. 

The conversion of Births, Deaths and Marriages records to electronic versions is also set to see $3.3 million over the next three years, which is expected to improve public access to records as far back as 1842. 

Additionally, the replacement of the Public Trustee customer relationship management system is set to see $3 million over the next three years. 

In addition to the Digital Restart Fund, the state budget included other measures that could affect South Australia's technology industry. 

This includes the state government’s education spend, which will see $32.9 million being spent over four years to support 750 traineeship and apprenticeship places in government agencies and funding projects in a number of industries — one of which is cyber security. 

On the business side, $54.32 million was set aside for additional TAFE SA resources and $87.9 million, in partnership with the Commonwealth, to support job seekers to reskill and upskill for in-demand jobs, as well as school leavers and businesses. 

Combining 2019-20's budget estimate setting aside $45.4 million, this brings the spend on upskilling up to a total of $187.5 million.

The budget also contained $233 million in payroll tax relief through a series of measures, $237 million in land tax relief over the next three years, $82 million this year in small business grants and $5 million this year for small to medium enterprises to develop sustainable business strategies. 

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