Service NSW Gets Half-A-Billion Dollar Boost – OpenGov Asia

2022-08-21 10:37:26 By : Ms. SUNFLY Printing

New South Wales’ ambition is a step closer to achieving its goal of becoming the world’s most customer-centric and tech-enabled government owing to an AU$ 536 million funding boost for Service NSW in the 2022-23 NSW Budget.

The Minister for Customer Service and Digital Government stated that the funding aims to ensure that Service NSW continues rolling out nation-leading programmes, services and digital solutions, and could continue delivering a customer satisfaction rate of more than 97%.

The Minister noted that Service NSW seeks to ease life for residents by providing a world-class, one-stop-shop service for customers and businesses, and this funding will enable Service NSW to expand its offering. The aim is to centre the customer in all processes; this investment is expected to help deliver a new level of service delivery.

Service NSW is the front door to more than 1,000 government services, and with its additional investment in digital identity and upgrades to the Service NSW app, more of these services will be accessible via a smartphone. These include new products such as the digital birth certificate and the NSW education wallet as well as online renewals of Working with Children Checks, NDIS Worker Checks and occupational licences using photo-matching technology.

Since 2013, Service NSW has opened 112 Service Centres across the State with another five to be opened by 2023. Additionally, two new mobile service centres add to the four currently on the road in regional and rural areas, including across flood-affected regions.

The Minister also noted that Service NSW plays a crucial role in supporting communities in the wake of natural disasters, including the recent floods in the Northern Rivers. This funding will enable Service NSW to continue to provide vital services and support to families and businesses in their hour of need.

The Government’s cost-of-living initiatives continue to deliver new savings and rebates funded through the Budget. Over three million people have accessed the online Savings Finder tool, while Service NSW’s Savings Specialists have carried out more than 100,000 appointments in Service Centres, with an average saving of AU$ 770. Currently, the Service NSW cost-of-living advisory service is in the process of being made accessible and convenient for more families across New South Wales.

It was also noted that digital transformation remained a priority for the Government, with funding allocated for further intakes of Digital Restart Fund (DRF) projects in 2022-23. This funding is from the record AU$ 2.1 billion set aside to invest in digital transformation and cyber uplift projects through the DRF, the Minister added.

The NSW Government’s 2022-2023 Budget aims to deliver a transformational budget that will secure a brighter future for New South Wales by offering steadfast support for families and businesses.

Through this Budget, NSW Government has put forward a transformational roadmap for the decade ahead, delivering not just for our people today, but for generations to come. The Budget forecasts above-trend economic growth of 4¼% for 2022-23 and a return to historically low unemployment of 3½% in the June quarter of next year.

The State is projected to return to surplus in 2024-25 – the same year as forecast in last year’s Budget, despite the Delta and Omicron outbreaks and floods – and that surplus is projected to increase to AU$ 1.4 billion in 2025-26. Net debt is projected to stabilise at about 14% of GSP by June 2026 (compared to a projected 19.8% for Victoria on 30 June 2022) followed by a gradual decline towards the end of the decade.

Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chinh has proposed that the military-run industry and telecommunications group Viettel lead the country’s digital transformation process. At a recent working session with the group’s leaders in Hanoi, Chinh asked the group to study and produce electronic chips, build a national database, and enhance telecommunications security and safety.

The group was also urged to continue to invest in strategic telecommunications infrastructure, remote sensing, logistics, and e-commerce. It will actively participate in energy transition and the development of clean energy. The Prime Minister instructed the group to make greater efforts to promote socio-economic development and an independent, self-reliant economy with active and effective international integration.

According to Chinh, the firm has effectively transformed from a military unit into a “dual-use” unit with great contributions to the state budget. It has fostered the development and application of science and technology in the country, especially in forming a cybersecurity industry, which has ensured the safe development of a digital government, economy, and society.

Viettel’s successes are a testament to the successful formation and development of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) during the ‘Doi moi’ (renewal) process of the country. The Viettel Chairman and General Director stated that the group had extended its operations in 10 countries with average revenue of nearly VN Đ150 trillion (US $6.4 billion) per year.

In the first seven months of 2022, the group’s consolidated revenue and pre-tax profit hit VN Đ92.9 trillion (nearly US $3.97 billion) and VN Đ31.2 trillion (US $1.3 billion, equivalent to 56.7% and 73.6% of the plans set for the year, respectively. The group contributed VN Đ24.3 trillion (about US $1 billion) to the state budget, equal to 64.8% of the yearly plan.

Viettel was the most influential Vietnamese enterprise in terms of innovation in South Asia and Southeast Asia in 2021. It also ranked first among the top 50 most valuable brands in Vietnam. The group has made active contributions to social security work, focusing on education, healthcare, and poverty reduction. It has so far contributed about VN Đ15 trillion (US $640 million) to social responsibility activities.

The group proposed several policies to the Prime Minister and government ministries/agencies, which would help it continue to develop high-end products, green energy, and important infrastructure projects. At the working session, participants suggested that apart from the development of high technology products and clean energy, the group should work with the software industry.

In April, Viettel announced a plan to build the largest data centre in Vietnam with a total investment of VN Đ6 trillion (approximately US $261 million). The project was invested in the Hoc Mon and Cu Chi districts of Ho Chi Minh City. Viettel worked alongside the two districts to promote the digital transformation of infrastructure, governance, the economy, and society. The group also stated that by 2025, it aims to have invested in 4G and 5G infrastructure that covers broadband services for the entire population and fibre optic infrastructure for every household.

Regarding a digital government, Viettel will create and deploy smart-control centre services and a shared data centre system for administration operations. As OpenGov Asia reported, Viettel will help 100% of local businesses use digital management platforms, electronic contracts, and digital signatures.

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) of the Philippines has funded the social enterprise “EdukSine,” which recently debuted as a streaming platform for independent Filipino films that are educational and socially significant, and will excite fans of independent cinema in the country.

“Film is a powerful tool for education by telling our stories. Once a story is told, it stays with you. Let’s keep telling our stories,” says Hector Gloria, Executive Director of EdukSine Philippines.

Through online, face-to-face, and hybrid block screening events, EdukSine features films with global impact that strengthen Filipino cultural roots and narratives. The initiative seeks to provide audiences with contextual and transformative film content, meaningful engagements, and long-term support for independent Filipino film producers, directors, actors, and film marketers. EdukSine will be a new and unusual platform for promoting indie films made by small film producers and filmmakers.

The platform also aims to bridge the gap between socially conscious, independently produced films and to reach out to the most remote parts of the country. It will hold pre-arranged screenings in schools, government offices, businesses, and organisations, including those in mountainous and coastal villages, in addition to its streaming platform.

Russell Pili, Chief of the DOST-Technology PCIEERD’s Transfer Division, also provided an overview of the Women Helping Women: Innovating Social Enterprise (WHWise) Programme. WHWise is a DOST programme that assisted EdukSine and all other grantees in improving their causes to have a significant impact on their target communities. In that sense, EdukSine improves the lives of many filmmakers and producers who have limited support and distribution and no way to make their films available to a wider audience.

Filipinos have been using streaming platforms a lot since the pandemic, and local services have reached record-high numbers of streams and subscribers. Just in the last few months, the entertainment industry has changed incredibly quickly, hence streaming services have quickly become one of the most popular digital services in the country.

Meanwhile, as part of its long-term goal of nurturing the Philippines’ emerging space technology industry, researchers from the DOST-Advanced Science and Technology Institute (DOST-ASTI) successfully communicated with Diwata-2 via the Iloilo Ground Receiving Station (GRS), the latest addition to the space infrastructure.

DOST-ASTI Director Franz A. de Leon led a team of researchers to the Iloilo GRS to conduct testing, validation, and initial operations of the ground station facility. The team also met with the local government units to discuss potential collaborations.

The Iloilo GRS’s operationalisation is a welcome development, and it is an excellent addition to the existing space technology infrastructure. The government wanted to build a ground station on each of the country’s major islands. With the installation of the Iloilo GRS, the nation now has stations in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. This will allow for greater operational flexibility and critical infrastructure redundancy.

The Iloilo GRS is housed at the Climate Field School in Dumangas, Iloilo, and features a 3.5-meter Earth Observation satellite tracking antenna. The antenna was initially erected in 2019, and testing for operationalisation began in 2019 by researchers from the Philippine Earth Data Resource and Observation (PEDRO) Centre. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic’s restrictions, the antenna’s testing was delayed.

In 2019, Diwata-2 captured a greyscale image of the Earth. The Philippine Scientific Earth Observation Microsatellite (PHL-Microsat) programme released the satellite’s first images, which included images of the provinces of Kalinga and Aurora.

The Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) of Singapore has been asked several questions by concerned individuals regarding the omission of the parents’ native tongue from the digital version of a child’s birth certificate.

To simplify the registration process and reduce the number of fields, several fields of information that are not required for policy and other administrative needs, such as the parents’ dialect, were not integrated into the digital birth certificate.

ICA continues to register information about the parents’ dialect, which is available in Singpass. However, the agency recognises the sentiments expressed and has decided to include parents’ dialects in digital birth certificates issued beginning 01 September 2022.

Before the digital birth certificate was made available, a child’s physical birth certificate showed the registered language of the parents. It did not carry the child’s dialect. The registration process was streamlined with the advent of online birth registration and digital birth certificate to replace the conventional birth certificate. Also reduced was the number of fields on the digital birth certificate.

In addition to the parent’s native language, the following details were omitted: the parents’ country of origin, the mother’s residence, the child’s place of birth registration, and a section titled “Informant’s Particulars.” In the digital birth certificate, just the information needed for the document or other public organisation purposes was retained.

The dialect information of a person is still accessible in Singpass. Singaporeans who are at least 15 years old and have a Singpass account can view their dialect information via the Personal Page on Singpass. For children under the age of 21, dialect information can also be available on the Family tab of their parents’ Singpass profiles.

The father’s dialect is assigned to a child at birth by ICA in the national registration database. A person’s registered dialect with the government can later be changed by them, including the kid, the father, or the mother, by sending a written declaration to ICA. This implies that a person’s registered dialect may differ from that of his or her father, or even both parents.

Since the 1970s, this has been standard procedure. People in Singapore were permitted to register their language or dialect in addition to their dialect by ancestry because some races did not have dialect groupings. Dialect registration altered as a result, and now people can modify their registered dialect by sending a written declaration to ICA.

People who want to know the most up-to-date information about a person’s registered dialect can look at that person’s Singpass, which is the most reliable source of the most up-to-date registered dialect information. On the birth certificate of a child, the parents’ registered dialect may not be the same as the one they use now.

ICA explained why they did not include the parents’ language on the digital birth certificate and said that the information could still be found in Singpass. It now will include the parent’s language in the digital birth certificate of a child born on or after 1 September 1, 2022.

For digital birth certificates issued between May 29 and August 31, 2022, parents will be able to re-download their child’s digital birth certificate for free starting 1 September 2022, with their own language added. In time, more information will be posted on the ICA website (

Patients will benefit from a state-wide rollout of world-class technology and equipment in NSW ambulances worth more than AU$ 55 million which will help paramedics and specialist clinicians provide even faster, better cardiac care. Through the package, ambulances will be equipped with an additional 550 mechanical cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) Lucas devices, 1,400 state-of-the-art ECG/defibrillation devices, and a new cardiac notification platform that will improve communication between NSW Ambulance and emergency departments.

The state Premier said this nation-leading investment will help save lives and provide better care for people right across the State. He noted that the Government is working to strengthen frontline services and deliver better services for people across the State.

The move is part of the government’s record investment in the health system to ensure that all NSW inhabitants, regardless of their area of residence, have access to the best healthcare possible to provide people with world-class healthcare and save lives. The NSW Health Minister said the rollout would give frontline healthcare staff the best tools and most up-to-date technology available to help them carry out their vital role of saving lives.

NSW Ambulance will be the first ambulance service in Australia to have mechanical CPR Lucas devices in every frontline ambulance, ensuring patients can receive life-saving chest compressions throughout their journey to hospital, the Health Minister said.

Timing is paramount when dealing with cardiac arrests. These devices give patients the best possible chance of staying alive, by supporting the region’s highly trained paramedics to provide the best life-saving care from the minute they arrive at the patient’s side through to when they reach the hospital, he added.

Approximately 20,000 Australians, including 8,000 people in NSW, suffer cardiac arrest out of hospitals every year. This makes it the most common cause of death among adults. Just one in 10 will survive.

The NSW Ambulance Chief Executive said NSW Ambulance had worked with practising clinicians to develop the cardiac care package to ensure it provided the most effective tools for responding to patients suffering cardiac arrest. He noted that the Lucas CPR devices are a game changer as effective chest compressions are very hard to maintain for long periods, or when a patient is being moved down a flight of stairs to the ambulance, for example. These devices will provide ongoing compressions in these challenging situations.

Patients will also benefit from the new Corpuls 3T 12-lead ECG/defibrillators which weigh considerably less than previous defibrillators, making them safer and easier for paramedics to use. These defibrillators perform non-invasive blood pressure monitoring, capnography, pulse oximetry, temperature recording and pacing.

In addition, the new cardiac notification platform would help streamline the transfer of patients from the ambulances into hospitals by improving communication between emergency departments and clinicians.

The cardiac notification platform aids the transfer of clinical observation data from ambulances and regional hospitals to tertiary hospitals so we can provide more rapid and effective treatment to patients with suspected heart attacks. In addition to the more than AU$ 55 million cardiac care package for NSW Ambulance, the NSW Government has invested AU$ 150 million over 10 years (2018-2028) in cardiovascular research in NSW.

In related news, NSW RFS announced that it is partnering with a mining company in a first-of-its-kind road-crash emergency rescue trial. The RFS noted that decreasing volunteer rates and low populations mean that many areas of the region have gone without sufficient staff to respond to road crashes within the critical first 60 minutes after a serious road incident. However, now eight members of Aurelia Metals’ Hera Mine emergency response team (ERT) are now qualified to attend road crashes.

Overall, NSW aims to boost its emergency response time and enable its paramedics and first responders to attend to crises rapidly and with the best equipment and training available.

The Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has approved a project to widen access to the Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL) database to users besides patent offices. The move is ambitious and forward-looking, as the TKDL will drive research, development, and innovation based on India’s heritage across several domains, a press release has claimed.

Until now, access to the complete TKDL database was restricted to 14 patent offices worldwide for research and examination. This defensive protection of the TKDL has been effective in safeguarding Indian traditional knowledge from misappropriation and is considered a global benchmark, the release stated. Now, the TKDL will be available to other users as well. It can cater to a vast user base that would include businesses, public and private research institutions, educational institutions, students, ISM practitioners, knowledge holders, patentees and their legal representatives, and government agencies. The access to the TKDL database would be through a paid subscription model, with a phase-wise opening to national and international users.

The TKDL is a prior art database of Indian traditional knowledge established in 2001 by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and the Department of Indian Systems of Medicine and Homeopathy (ISM&H, now Ministry of AYUSH). The TKDL is a first of its kind globally and has been serving as an exemplary model to other nations. The information is documented in a digitised format in five international languages: English, German, French, Japanese, and Spanish. The TKDL provides information in languages and formats understandable by patent examiners at patent offices worldwide, which prevents the erroneous grant of patents.

The approval of the Cabinet to widen the access of the database beyond patent offices emphasises integrating and co-opting traditional knowledge with modern practices toward enhancing innovation and trade. The TKDL is an important source of traditional information to advance innovation and technology frontiers. The current contents of TKDL shall facilitate the wider adoption of Indian traditional medicines, while also propelling new manufacturers and innovators promoting the development of enterprises based on India’s knowledge heritage.

Indian traditional knowledge (TK) offers immense potential to serve national and global needs, providing societal benefits as well as economic growth. For example, the traditional systems of medicine and wellness from the country like Ayurveda and Yoga help people all over the world. The recent COVID-19 pandemic has also been witnessing the extensive use of Indian traditional medicines whose benefits include immune-boosting, symptom-relief, and anti-viral. In April, the World Health Organisation (WHO) established its first off-shore Global Centre for Traditional Medicines (GCTM) in India. This demonstrates the continued relevance of traditional knowledge in addressing the current and emerging needs of the world, the press release explained.

In the future, more information on Indian traditional knowledge from other domains will be added to the TKDL database. While catering to its primary mandate to prevent granting wrong patents on Indian traditional knowledge, the TKDL database will also push creative minds to innovate better, safer, and more effective solutions for a healthier and technology-empowered population.

An electric grid is a system of synchronised electricity producers and consumers that is run by one or more control centres and connected by transmission and distribution lines. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently disclosed a US$ 45 million financial commitment to develop, advance, and test technology that will safeguard the electric grid against cyber-attacks and allow Americans easily access inexpensive and clean energy.

“As DOE builds out America’s clean energy infrastructure, this funding will provide the tools for a strong, resilient, and secure electricity grid that can withstand modern cyber threats and deliver energy to every pocket of America,” says Jennifer M. Granholm, U.S. Secretary of Energy. “DOE will use this investment to keep up with the administration’s promise to make energy more affordable, reliable, and clean.”

Cyberattacks on American energy systems have the potential to shut down vital energy infrastructure, disrupt the country’s economy, and endanger consumer health. The U.S. will have the chance to strengthen its cyber defences in the energy industry by combining them with the additional grid improvements that are supported by the Inflation Reduction Act and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

Up to 15 research, development, and demonstration (RD&D) projects with a focus on creating new cybersecurity tools and solutions to lower cyber risks for energy delivery infrastructure would be supported by the grant. To achieve the nation’s objective of a net-zero carbon economy by 2050, it is essential to build robust and secure energy infrastructure across the nation.

The said research projects will receive funding from the Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security, and Emergency Response (CESER) of the DOE. These projects will create new research partnerships or strengthen those that already exist with energy sector utilities, vendors, universities, national laboratories, and service providers to develop resilient energy delivery systems.

The project will result in the development of cutting-edge tools and technology that are intended to lessen the disruption of energy distribution caused by cyber incidents. To enable energy systems to autonomously identify a cyberattack, try to prevent it, and automatically isolate and eliminate it without affecting energy delivery, researchers will focus on creating tools and technologies.

As sustainable energy technology is implemented on the grid, cybersecurity is still a top priority. The project’s six planned issue areas are as follows:

Meanwhile, the National Science Foundation (NSF), a pioneer in providing infrastructure, direction, and support for ethically created and deployed ML/AI systems in the U.S. has worked with some partnerships to strengthen and support fairness in machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI), which are developing quickly.

The awardees of the Programme on Fairness in Artificial Intelligence for 2022 were announced by NSF in partnership with a private institution as part of that commitment. The recipients of the 2022 awards will get financial support worth up to $9.5 million.

The awardees have outlined projects that include eliminating bias and unfairness in ML/AI systems, creating guidelines for how people should interact with such systems, creating theoretical frameworks for algorithms, and enhancing speech recognition technology so that it is more widely used.

Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) and Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) announced a research collaboration aimed at supporting the development of the first Hybrid OTEC (H-OTEC) test rig off Port Dickson at the International Institute of Aquaculture and Aquatic Sciences (I-AQUAS) of UPM.

This collaboration expedites Carbon Net-Zero for a low-carbon society and tackles the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Southeast Asia and Malaysia. This project was endorsed and funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JiCA), Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) and matching funds from the Ministry of Higher Education (MoHE) of Malaysia.

A Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) signing ceremony was held at UTM Kuala Lumpur (UTMKL) campus and was signed by the Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) Vice-Chancellor and the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research & Innovation) of UPM (representing the Vice Chancellor of UPM).

This collaboration falls under the Science and Technology Research Partnership for Sustainable Development (SATREPS) OTEC Programme: Sustainability of Hybrid Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (H-Otec) In Malaysia and Southeast Asia.

The five-year SATREPS OTEC Programme is a joint research programme between the Government of Japan and Malaysia which includes the Research and Development of the H-OTEC system and the multi-utilisation of Deep Seawater (DSW) in the Malaysian eco-system and is known as the “Malaysia model”. The Malaysian Model will be established as the final project output.

In addition, UTM is the only Malaysian university in Southeast Asia which has established an OTEC centre, the UTM Ocean Thermal Energy Centre (UTM OTEC).

This SATREPS OTEC Programme consists of 10 projects championed by UTM, UPM, UM, UKM, UMT and UMS. As highlighted earlier, the Programme was designed to enable research and development (R&D) into Hybrid OTEC system technology, which combines energy generation and seawater desalination technology, based on the Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC), the technological element that was developed in Japan.

In its initial phase, the proposed project will build a flexible research laboratory facility named UPM-UTM OTEC Centre at I-AQUAS UPM, Port Dickson. The proposed world-class facility, also a UTM satellite lab, will attract high calibre researchers, students and funding foundations and aim to produce the best students and researchers.

There are two operating OTEC demonstration plants in the world currently, including Kumejima of Japan and NELHA in Hawaii. The former pilot plant was constructed with the technical support of Saga University in 2013.

Aligned with the UN’s SDGs and the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26), clean energy, food and water security and much more are achievable via Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC), a power generation technology that creates electricity via the utilisation the difference of temperature between the cold deep seawater that could not be reached by sunlight and the surface seawater warmed by the solar energy.

In this method, natural energy replaces fossil fuels and could directly reduce the quantity of CO2 emissions. Thus, it is labelled a clean power generation technology that could produce green hydrogen for a cleaner environment. Furthermore, the energy stored in the ocean is enormous, and at the same time, it is not largely influenced by meteorological conditions, ensuring a stable energy supply and achieving carbon net-zero by 2050.

This MoA strengthens both UTM and UPM in many ways and is not limited to research, innovation and commercialisation of OTEC and its spin-off industries. The quality of education and visibility of both universities and all stakeholders will go to greater heights through this partnership.

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