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Former Macquarie Bank CDO Damon Rees named NSW Government Chief Information and Digital Officer

The NSW Government has appointed Damon Rees to the newly created role of Government Chief Information and Digital Officer (GCIDO). This will be the most senior tech role within the state government, with all major ICT projects across government to require approval from the GCIDO.

Rees, who will start in the role on May 30, was previously chief digital officer at Macquarie Bank. He also worked as CTO and interim CIO at Woolworths, where he led the supermarket chain’s shift onto Google apps, and as Westpac’s head of integrated delivery.

Making the announcement yesterday, Minister for Finance, Services and Property Dominic Perrottet said, “As a Government we are determined to keep building our digital capability, because ultimately that results in better services for the people of NSW.

“Damon comes with an exceptional track record in the business world, so it’s exciting to have someone of his calibre to drive the Government’s digital agenda.”

As well as overseeing the development of ICT projects across all departments and agencies, Rees will also be tasked with pushing digital adoption across the public sector, defining the long term vision for ICT and digital technologies, implementing the government’s Open Data Policy, and improving integration across government agencies.

Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation Victor Dominello added that the appointment of Rees would ensure better outcomes for NSW taxpayers.

“The GCIDO will be responsible for enforcing high standards of financial discipline on large-scale ICT projects across government. Damon will also play a critical role in accelerating the digitisation of government services,” he said.

This idea of digitising or updating government processes has been key for NSW, reflected by the fact it has not been making the same kind of high-profile announcements about funding initiatives and global players opening local offices as its counterparts around the country.

Rather its own ICT Strategy has been a key focus, with the Premier’s State Priorities list, released last September, calling for better service delivery for citizens and setting a target of 70 percent of government transactions to be conducted through digital channels by 2019.

The government’s Data Analytics Centre (DAC) and open data policy are a core part of its ICT Strategy, with the DAC looking to facilitate data sharing between agencies to ensure more efficient, strategic evidence-based decision making. Dominello announced the DAC’s advisory board in April, naming CIO of the ASX Tim Thurman as chair.

After legalising ridesharing services in December the government has also embraced the wider sharing economy with the launch of a policy framework earlier this year that will help inform its next steps in regulating the sector. Ridesharing was also made available to public servants within the Department of Finance, Services and Innovation for work travel in March.

However, announcements around funding are likely to come soon, with the government recently holding a consultation period on its ‘whole-of-government’ Innovation Strategy. Here it asked for input across eight core issues including the development of a regulatory environment that supports innovation, how it can boost access to funding and investment, the development of innovation hubs, and how to meet demand for business skills and education. The strategy will be released over the coming months.

Image: Damon Rees. Source: Supplied.





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