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Monday, 13 February 2017
Page: 819


Mr FALINSKI (Mackellar) (11:12): Like the member for Newcastle, when I first saw this motion I wondered what the member for Fisher was up to. Does he like poking the Labor Party bear? Was he trying to get you guys opposite into some sort of frothing fit of rage? Such is the member for Fisher's sense of humour, it is difficult to know what he was up to. However, as I listened to the member's speech I was reminded that this government has done an extraordinary job of fixing a mess that you blokes left behind. As the member for Fisher pointed out, do we get thanks or even gratitude from you guys? I would go for just a modicum of humility from you blokes, but we get none of it. Ungrateful is what you guys are.

We are the party that in New South Wales turned what used to be a day-long excursion down to the RTA to renew your licence or car into an over-the-net experience. Dom Perrottet had to do this over the objections of your paymasters in the public sector unions to make New South Wales a better place. Russell Cassar, who is an old friend of my wife's and who happens to be the CTO of JP Morgan, says that Wall Street runs on technology. There is no earthly reason why government cannot also run on technology to improve the experience that our citizens have interacting with us.

This government established the Digital Transformation Agency. The importance of this agency cannot and should not be underestimated. The DTA has focused on three key things: reducing barriers to the adoption of online transactions by encouraging the uptake of digital interaction; fully utilising and embedding open data; creating marketplaces for more efficient tendering for government supply and materially improving access that small businesses have to government contracts.

The DTA has been spending just over a quarter billion dollars this year to help government agencies create digital portals that are easy to find. We have all had the experience of using government service websites where finding the service you are looking for is almost impossible and the search functionality does not produce any meaningful results. The private sector knows that consumers are not patient these days and, if they cannot find what they want within a minute or so, they move on. That is why companies like Amazon, Domain and Seek ensure that the number of clicks between you entering the website and transacting is as small as possible.

The second need is security. Long before private mail servers became all the rage, the biggest resistance to online transactions was people's innate fear of losing control of their information. For government agencies to increase online interaction, people need rock-solid assurances that their information is safe. DTA has been introducing standards for security across agencies to ensure security is front and centre of any design and software architecture. As the head of Trend Micro told me recently, the average personal computer will be subject to over 900 attacks per year.

Finally, DTA has set out a digital service standard similar to what Microsoft does for its Office suite of programs, so all government agencies will have similar directories and functionalities. When you go to the ATO or to DFAT, you will be able to navigate the sites more easily.

In my view, the most exciting initiative of the government has been open data. The benefits are multifaceted. Sure, it can save money, but, more importantly, it can save lives and even potentially improve policy debate. But let's first deal with the practical before hoping for miracles. Ian Burnett's team at UTS and the Centre for Big Data and Analytics have been helping the New South Wales government better direct their resources to what works and, more importantly, helps improve people's lives. In the UK, open data is estimated to have saved the government nearly 100 million pounds, in one instance eliminating the purchase of 75-pound mops. But, as Laure Lucchesi of Etalab has said, the biggest beneficiaries of open data are consumers, because start-ups can now better target their resources, providing better competition.

Under this government, data sets that are open to the public have increased from 500 to 23,600. In health the cost savings are huge. The information for improving your own health is huge. Hackathons are now using open data to make serious, innovative and real contributions to public policy.