State Budgets: digital on backburner as cost of living takes priority

state budgets

Six of the seven states have released their 2024-25 State Budgets, pushing cost of living reprieve and community safety to the forefront of economic policy, with investments in digital and technology taking a step back to accommodate.

New South Wales, South Australia, Victoria and the Northern Territory have so far committed funds to improve digital capabilities across government, with a particular focus on policing and justice. See below for a state-by-state wrap-up on budget allocations to digital.

New South Wales

NSW’s 2024-25 Budget has continued to deliver for its digital strategy, providing an additional $21.4 million to develop the NSW Digital Identity and Wallet and build a more secure transaction network.

“The nation-leading project will transform the way NSW residents prove their identity and credentials through a secure, smartphone-based system. It will allow people to share their identity and qualifications for a range of tasks and transactions conveniently and safely, while ensuring personal information and privacy are better protected,” a statement released on behalf of the Minister for Customer Service and Digital Government said.

NSW has also dedicated $62.5 million for a further 80 licence qualifications to be transferred to the new digital Licence NSW system, streamlining and simplifying the ability for people to manage their licences through new technology.

Over $53 million has been committed to the NSW Department of Customer Service to boost its cybersecurity capabilities, including $20.3 million for Cyber Security NSW to assist in “early detection, response and recovery from cyber incidents, the continuity of services and safeguarding private data”, and $22.7 million for ID Support NSW to support people in the aftermath of a data security incident and prevent identity theft.

“The 2024-25 Budget also provides stable funding of $2.4 billion to Service NSW to run 117 service centres, contact centres and online channels. The funding creates a renewed focus on frontline service delivery to support demand following several years of pandemic and natural disaster response. The funding includes an additional $10.4 million to enhance security at service centres.”

NSW has also indicated it will work to digitise its transport network, with $25 million for the replacement of the Digital Train Radio System and $40 million to strengthen the ability of train crews to recover operations during incidents with the help of technology.

The Minns Government has also committed $10.3 million to the Strategic Hosting Data Centre, to enable digital, information-based policing.

South Australia

Of the $36.7 million total committed to the SA Police Force, $19 million over the next four years will fund a “digital police station”, an online system capable of providing services that are currently only available in-person.

These services include lodging national police certificate requests, freedom of information requests, vehicle collision reports, and clamping and impounding payments, as well as hosting the public child sex offender register.

The investment will see 47 police officers and staff able to re-commit to operational duties.


Similar to NSW, Victoria has also committed funds to maintaining and upgrading its Digital Train Radio System – this time, however, with a substantial $214 million.

This Budget also provided $107 million to the Victorian Building Authority, of which some will invest in technology upgrades to strengthen its intelligence gathering and compliance enforcement.

Community safety will also be bolstered by technology as a result of the Victorian budget for the next year, with $50 million dedicated to the state’s emergency management response, ensuring first responders have the services, tools and tech capabilities they need.

This included $25 million for the State Control Centre, $9.5 million to upgrade emergency information, advice and warnings systems for citizens and organisations, and $9.1 million for Life Saving Victoria to continue its water safety program with rescue helicopter, watercraft and drone services.

Northern Territory

The NT’s 2024-25 Budget comes off the back of its independent Police Review, with $570 million committed over the next five years to boost police resourcing in the territory.

Of this, $125 million in funding will introduce a five-year ongoing police infrastructure program, providing facilities boosted by the latest technology across the territory.

“Key areas of focus for the police infrastructure program will be new and upgraded police stations, watch houses and housing, particularly in remote and regional areas,” the Budget said.

“Implementation of the government’s response to the Northern Territory Police Review will community police officers, digital transformation, also strengthen the agency’s ability to support frontline staff in their day-to-day work. This includes career pathways for Aboriginal data-informed service provision, bolstering capacity of the Police College, and recruitment of senior, experienced police from other states to build capability in the ranks.”