22 February, 2024
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Fresh approach to funding digital solutions to target housing supply and frontline services

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Community is at the heart of the Minns Labor Government’s reset of the Digital Restart Fund (DRF), with $100 million now aimed at finding digital solutions to address the state’s biggest challenges including housing supply, frontline service delivery and climate change.

As part of a major shift in how the NSW Government prioritises digital investment, funding will be targeted at five new focus areas that better align with the needs of the state’s residents as cost-of-living and environmental pressures rise.

Under the changes, digital investment will focus on housing supply, support for frontline and essential workers, efficient energy use and protections for biodiversity and the natural environment, reducing cyber risk, and the accessibility of government services.

Under the changes, projects prioritised for funding under the DRF will include:

  • Projects which make it easier, safer, and simpler for frontline and essential workers to deliver services.
  • Projects with outcomes targeted at speeding up the supply of housing and acceleration of the housing planning cycle.
  • Projects which increase accessibility of government services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds, regional, remote and rural communities, seniors, people with a disability, and people experiencing social issues and disadvantage.
  • Projects targeted at driving more efficient energy use and supporting biodiversity and the natural environment.
  • Projects aimed at reducing cyber security risk.

NSW Government agencies have been asked to submit applications to the DRF with a focus on the new priority areas.

Major projects delivered through the DRF include a project to uplift the digital literacy of western Sydney residents, and the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to irrigate and cool Sydney Olympic Park and mitigate the ‘Urban Heat Island effect’ in surrounding areas.

A project using AI to help prevent rubbish entering Sydney Harbour has also been funded under the DRF. Smart sensors, which have been rolled out to the Blacktown, Parramatta and Northern Beaches local government areas, detect the types of rubbish entering waterways and inform stormwater managers when rubbish collection points need to be emptied.

Through the DRF, the NSW Government is working to enhance digital innovation and transform services by streamlining planning, funding, risk mitigation and delivery processes to ensure government agencies meet the needs of NSW residents.

Minister for Customer Service and Digital Government Jihad Dib said:

“I am setting a new direction for the Digital Restart Fund to help us find innovative answers to some of the biggest challenges people in NSW are facing right now.”

“It makes sense to shift the focus of the DRF so it can deliver the most value possible to communities right across the state.”

“The NSW Government has a range of programs and resources available to the community but that is only one part of the matrix; people need to know this support exists and investing in accessibility, particularly for Indigenous and CALD communities, is critical.”

“We are also targeting investment in projects that will help us speed up housing delivery, drive more efficient energy use, automate services to support our essential and frontline workers, and reduce cyber risk.”

Jihad Dib

Minister for Customer Service and Digital Government

Minister for Emergency Services

Minister for Youth Justice

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