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NSW Libs pledge ICT revolution

Shadow financial management minister, Greg Pearce, looks to Cloud computing in vision document ahead of forthcoming state elections

An incoming NSW Liberal government would establish a new ICT governance body and consulting committee with the private sector to provide advice on key projects, including potential migration to a Cloud computing model, if elected in March.

In a four-page vision document delivered to Computerworld Australia by a spokesperson for shadow financial management minister, Greg Pearce, the NSW MP outlined potential ICT policies that would be considered by a Liberal Government should it win state government on 26 March.

“The NSW Liberals & Nationals believe the NSW Government must respond to the challenge of a society which is increasingly horizontal: One in which government has lost its primacy over information and its dissemination,” Pearce wrote.

These would include a single, high-level body made up of ministers and department executives, accompanied by a consulting committee of private sector representatives to establish and maintain a whole-of-government ICT strategy.

The first order, he said, would be to explore replacing current plans to consolidate existing data centres under the Labor government in favour of a Cloud computing migration.

The body would also consider expansion of the data.nsw repository, changes to research and development incentives for the private sector, an ICT showcase, increased ICT job creation as well as changes to government ICT procurement and information security standards as outlined by the state Auditor-General last year.

Pearce used his vision document to slam existing practices and failed projects under the Labor government, but did not commit to reinstating any of the projects scrapped under Kristina Keneally’s government.

He said the move to put ICT “front and centre” of a NSW Liberal government would be aimed at regaining ICT industry strength lost in recent years to Victoria under initiatives of the former Labor government there.

Pearce’s commitment to fixing government ICT procurement - including shifting investment cycles to meet hardware life cycles rather than annual budgets - bears similarities to the forthcoming changes under Labor’s renewed Procure IT structure, which would keep ICT intellectual property with the supplier rather than government.

Pearce said he would keep an “open mind” regarding the National Broadband Network, but maintained hesitancy in backing the $36 billion project.

He made no mention of potential inclusion of an opt-out arrangement for the rollout of the network or whether a Liberal government would retain the state government-appointed NBN Coordinator, introduced by the current Labor Government to directly negotiate use of utility and other government-owned infrastructure during the network’s rollout.

Follow James Hutchinson on Twitter: @j_hutch

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU

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Tags NSW Liberal governmentICT policies2011 State ElectionGreg Pearce

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