Victor Dominello

FORMER Minister for Digital, State of NSW, Australia, Service NSW

Supernova Award Category: 
Digital Safety, Governance, and Privacy
The Organization: 

Service NSW is a world-class one-stop-shop for citizens and businesses of New South Wales, the largest state of Australia. Service NSW operates a network of physical service centres and multi-channel online services.

ServiceNSW governance innovations include a “No wrong door” policy for customer contact.

A key asset is the MyServiceNSW mobile app. It includes Australia’s first Digital Driver Licence (DDL, released in 2019). MySNSW is updated regularly and has become a digital wallet with vehicle registration, small business registration, trade licenses, boating, fishing, home building permits etc.

In 2023 we jointly announced with the federal government an interoperability plan to carry Medicare credentials in the NSW wallet, and NSW DDL in the MyGov app.

The Problem: 

Two complementary aspects of pandemic management exemplify the power of digital technology.


Early in the pandemic, when venue check-in became mandated, a rash of third party apps emerged to create customer records. Cloud databases were common, and privacy concerns mounted. The NSW government perceived the Australians would have greater confidence if government handled check-in data, since public acceptance of COVID management was generally high.


Through the course of COVID-19 public health orders (i.e. lockdowns), the NSW government was acutely aware of the pandemic’s economic challenges for citizens and businesses. Government resolved to help mitigate the impact through a economic stimulus program targeting the tourism and hospitality retail sectors.

The question was, how to make cash-equivalent funds available securely and swiftly to citizens, in a accessible form? ServiceNSW had the answer, leveraging the mobile app’s high levels of engagement with consumers and the agency’s close business relationships.

The Solution: 

ServiceNSW was already assisting businesses with COVID-Safe training, compliance and comms. We leveraged this footprint to generate business QR codes and release a check-in module for the app.

We used established customer research and consultation processes for user journey mapping and testing.

Service NSW is committed to Privacy by Design; we had PbD experts work within the dev team from the outset; consulted with the Information Protection Commissioner; undertook repeat Privacy Impact Assessments.

Four $25 vouchers were allocated to every adult in NSW, redeemable at registered food outlets and entertainment venues. Eligibility was verified with minimum friction via the integrated MyServiceNSW Proof of Identity module.

To ensure COVID-Safe check-in is as safe and accessible as possible, we deployed printed check-in cards for customers who did not own or chose not to use mobiles. Service NSW is determined that digital transformation not disadvantage anyone.

The Results: 

Within six weeks of launch, 50,000 businesses and two million NSW citizens were participating; the mobile app had registered 30 million check-ins. Dependence on third party customer tracking dropped to negligible levels.

Feedback from businesses was extremely positive. The chief executive officer of a major cinema chain said the vouchers scheme was “critical to businesses like the cinema industry which was hard hit over the pandemic”.  At times, the chain enjoyed a 33%B boost to revenue directly attributable to the vouchers.

The successful COVID stimulus vouchers program has served as a prototype for the delivery of further state government family assistance such as school holiday and childrens’ physical fitness programs.


The COVID stimulus vouchers program ran for 16 months; 5.5 million adults registered (cf total NSW population 9 million).

We measured 94% positive customer response from the in-app user feedback.

Expecting broader stimulus as a consequence, we were careful to measure (in a privacy preserving way) the total expenditure at venues when vouchers were redeemed, to gauge the total economic stimulus. For AU$586,783,126 of vouchers actually redeemed, the total customer spend was $976,379,272. That is, the program attracted a 40% boost in economic activity.

The Technology: 

ServiceNSW’s technology posture has very carefully shifted to mobile-first, but with paramount attention to access and fairness across our stakeholder population -- literally the entire community.  Our research and UAT informed our choices of e.g. QR code interfaces for vouchers and check-in. We are determined that no one gets left behind in digital transformation and the mainstreaming of mobile platforms.  

Disruptive Factor: 

The COVID-19 pandemic itself was both the greatest motivation to deliver the most meaningful benefits to ServiceNSW’s stakeholders (the citizens of NSW) and our team’s greatest challenge.

Over several years the agency had refined and excelled at agile methods and built a best-in-class team culture, centred on practices such as daily morning scrums and stand-up meetings.  Working from home disrupted these methods to a startling degree; stand-up meetings are not easy over webcams! We had workmates who had joined the organisation after WFH started and had never met their colleagues in person. And yet ServiceNSW personnel rose to the occasion. We adopted new productivity and collaboration tools such as Miro, and we continuously refined our mainstream platforms (chiefly Microsoft, Salesforce and Atlassian).

Shining Moment: 

Following the cabinet decision to allocate [up to approx. AUD$1B)], stimulus funds were flowing to customers within 16 weeks.

That is, the mobile app product team completed customer research, the software upgrade, SI, privacy assessment, testing and deployment, all in 16 weeks. This extraordinary turnaround under great pressure exemplifies the team’s work ethic, its agile methods & culture, coordination, and the quality of its established CX and research methods.

About Service NSW

At Service NSW, a positive customer experience is our highest priority. We draw on the best in service delivery from the public and private sectors to provide leading customer experiences.