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New South Wales government prepares for real-time digital payments

New South Wales government prepares for real-time digital payments
 

After three years of work, the New South Wales government is planning to complete its transition to Australia’s digital payments system, a faster, more efficient solution to traditional payments, according to InnovationAus.

The government has focused on ensuring agencies are using what’s already available to them, like the Customer Payment Platform (CPP), which is operated by the Department of Customer Service.

The state’s Department of Education and Transport are currently using the CPP, according to Lynne Cardwell, NSW Treasury’s executive director for banking and financial services. The CPP’s Student Finance Platform is being used at 1,650 public schools, with all schools, totaling over 2,200, expected to transition to the platform by June 2024.

The Treasury Department is continuing to work with Customer Service and the Department of Health.

Roughly 30 agencies currently use the platform. In September 2021, 20 agencies actively used the platform and the system completed over 10 million transactions, totaling AU$6 billion (approximately US$4 billion), according to Customer Service.

By using a single platform across government agencies, it becomes simpler to transition from the outdated Bulk Electronic Clearing System (BECS) to the New Payments Platform (NPP). The federal government has set out to phase out of the BECS system by 2030.

The government plans to transition completely to the NPP over the next 12-18 months, Cardwell says. Treasury is watching the rollout of new payment methods, such as the PayTo service, which would provide businesses with open banking payment offerings for customers, allowing them to pay directly from their bank accounts.

Roughly 95 percent of electronic payments out of the government leverages direct entry, and payroll files would need to be transitioned to the new system, which would be a large undertaking and requires planning to overcome challenges.

One Immediate challenge is the state government’s lack of access to banking information. The federal government and agencies like Services Australia, on the other hand, does have this access and is using NPP for payments.

NPP is a subsidiary of Australian Payments Plus, and part of the group working collaboratively on the ConnectID digital identity service.

Adopting common platforms can make it easier to capture and hold payment preferences for citizens and businesses. The transition is also tied to enterprise resource planning (ERP) consolidation efforts led by the Department of Communities on behalf of the government.

Justice plans to introduce an ERP platform and Edge systems to bring all services operations into two hubs across the government as part of the Process and Technology Harmonisation (PaTH) program.

Australia is planning to launch a national digital ID as soon as this July, but in the meanwhile NSW is moving ahead with pilots of its decentralized digital ID.

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