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Dominello: NSW Government agency funding to be data-driven

Dominello: NSW Government agency funding to be data-driven

Will use ERC position to compel agencies to make data-driven improvements while wielding 'sledgehammer' of legislation

The New South Wales government's new Minister for Finance, Services and Property, Victor Dominello MP, will use his position on the Expenditure Review Committee (ERC) to push for a data-driven approach to financing agencies, he said today.

State government agencies will be urged to use and share data to make improvements which would be linked to the funding they receive, Dominello explained to the Gartner Data & Analytics Summit in Sydney this morning.

Dominello was appointed to his new role in January, after first requesting the promotion from former NSW premier Mike Baird last year.

"I said please, please, please I want finance because I want to be on ERC, because I want to link data with money," Dominello said.

"Inside agencies they'll make incremental improvements, but the really deep improvements they need to do by looking internally and then sharing the data across various silos. [That] will only generally come when you say show me some improvements and we'll attach money to it," he added.

Dominello also suggested that agencies could be awarded an "innovation bonus" if they showed they had used data to drive improvements.

The DAC Man

Sharing the progress of the state's Data Analytics Centre – which was set up in 2015 by Dominello when he was Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation and remains in his new portfolio – the minister said it had grown from "one man and his pot plant" to a 35 staff strong "powerful beast".

"In terms of the size of the budget it's peanuts, it's a grain of sand," said Dominello, who shared that his colleagues call him The DAC Man, "but in terms of the insights it's super powerful."

The DAC – which cost $17m – serves as the platform for the Greater Sydney Commission, and its analysis will help the body determine where best to place schools and amenities based on projected demand.

The centre will pay for itself in the medium term, Dominello said, but had the potential to become a "unicorn" and one day sell data and algorithms to other states, the private sector and overseas governments.

Dominello added that the state's ‘Tripadviser platform’ for the government's open data sets would be launching later this year.

Sledgehammer

Legislation was passed in late 2015 that allowed the DAC to demand government sector agencies to share their data with the centre and other agencies.

Dominello said that, to date, agencies had complied with any requests but he was not afraid of using the "sledgehammer" of legislation if required.

"It has been hard. What we've tended to do is do a softly, softly collaborative way. Now I've got legislation so if worst comes to worst, if I have an agency that's causing me a lot of grief and I've got more grey hairs today then I had yesterday, I will pick up the phone and say: 'Enough. I'm over it. Here's the order. That's it. The people's parliament of NSW has said you have to give me that information'," Dominello explained.

"I haven't had to use that sledgehammer yet and I don't particularly want to but I will if I'm forced."

As persuasive was each agency's requirement to come to treasury and deliver efficiencies and improvements, Dominello added.

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Tags data analyticsstate governmentGartnerMike BairdnswNew South WalesData Lakedata analysisVictor Dominello

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