• Great articles on other sites
  • RSS Great articles on other sites

  • Enterprise IT, Featured, News - Written by on Monday, April 2, 2012 16:50 - 1 Comment

    Qld gets new ‘Can Do’ ICT ministers

    news New Queensland Premier Campbell Newman has appointed several high-profile members of his new LNP-dominated parliament to take control of the state’s technology portfolio, as a new political dawn arrives in the sunshine state following his electoral route of the previous Labor Government a week ago.

    In a statement published on the LNP’s web site this morning (although it is believed to have been distributed previously), Newman revealed he had appointed MP Ros Bates (pictured, right), who had previously led the technology portfolio for the LNP in Queensland in Opposition, as the state’s new Minister for Science, IT, Innovation and the Arts.

    Unlike most of her predecessors opposing the Queensland Government in the technology portfolio, Bates had been quite active in the area, regularly highlighting difficulties the long-term incumbent Labor Government had been suffering with internal IT projects in the state, as well as its at-times fractious relationship with industry.

    In late July last year, following a speech by then-Premier Anna Bligh at an IT industry lunch outlining a series of sweeping changes to the way the state handled ICT governance, Bates said the Liberal-National Party had long been calling for “someone to take charge” and sort out “the many crises dogging the Bligh Government’s ICT”.

    “Whilst imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, Labor’s delayed move proves the out-of-touch Bligh government has run out of ideas,” said Bates. “This incompetent government has had two long decades to get on top of Information and Communication Technology, but it’s one area where they have had repeated catastrophic and expensive failures,” she said.

    However, the new minister’s term in Opposition wasn’t without its embarrassments, with the MP controversially appeared to claim that Labor political operatives had hacked her website, Facebook and Twitter accounts after she fell victim to a common global phishing attack through Twitter. At the time, then-ICT Minister Simon Finn ridiculed the claim. “It is totally laughable to suggest that a global phishing attack is related to a 2012 election campaign in Queensland,” he said.

    However, it doesn’t appear as if Bates will be the only Queensland Minister responsible for setting technology policy in the state. The Queensland Government’s Cabinet site also details the fact that new Queensland Treasurer, Timothy Nicholls (pictured, right), has also been appointed Minister for Government Services, Building Industry and Information and Communication Technology of Queensland.

    This role would appear to see Nicholls taking overall control of the centralised governance functions (including ICT shared services) which have caused the state so many headaches over the past few years. In June 2010, Queensland’s Auditor-General slammed the governance of three massive state government technology consolidation projects, pointing out that they have all substantially blown their timeframes. A day later, Bligh revealed the state would abandon its centralised IT shared services model as its exclusive structure for delivering IT services in the wake of the Queensland Health payroll disaster and damaging revelations of widespread problems in associated programs.

    The Queensland Health issue — one of the most damaging politically for Labor in Queensland over the past few years — saw thousands of medical staff go without pay for periods as the state struggled to get a new SAP-based system implemented by its shared services division, with the assistance of IBM, under control. No doubt examining its current status will be a key focus for Nicholls — with assistance from the state’s new Health Minister Lawrence Springborg.

    Bates’ appointment was welcomed by the IT industry’s peak vendor representative group, the Australian Information Industry Association, which congratulates the LNP on its victory in a statement this week and welcomed Bates to her new role. “This appointment highlights the pivotal role the industry must play in facilitating the Government’s four-pillar economy action plan,” the organisation wrote.

    AIIA chief executive Suzanne Campbell said Queensland had long been an ICT hub, and the State’s importance to the ICT industry was underscored by the AIIA’s National Board decision to hold its meeting in Brisbane this week.

    “The ICT industry employs 74,000 people across the state, with Brisbane and the greater South East Queensland region being home to more than 80 per cent of Queensland’s 5,700 ICT businesses,” Ms Campbell said. “Brisbane is also one of the world’s largest centres for the gaming industry and the innovations coming out of this state are world beaters as demonstrated last year’s iAwards winners Transmax for STREAMS Motorway Management and NICTA for their Face Search Engine. The value of the ICT industry to the state is significant with approximately $10.2 billion in revenue being generated by Queensland’s ICT industry.”

    “On top of this, the state accounts for the third largest share of Australia’s exports of ICT equipment at $93 million and ICT services at $198 million. “By any measure, the ICT industry is fundamental to the State’s well-being.”

    Campbell said the LNP’s four-pillar economy plan – which focused on tourism, agriculture, resources and construction – would rely on ICT for its implementation and success. “ICT will be fundamental to the implementation of the new Government’s economic blueprint,” Campbell said. “As part of its policy, the new Government has pledged to deliver better infrastructure and better planning to unlock bottlenecks in Queensland’s economy. With ICT covering every sector of the economy, the industry is critical in the planning, development and implementation of this transforming economic vision for the state.”

    opinion/analysis
    Queensland might have a new government, but it’s hardly a new day when it comes to technology policy in the state.

    The LNP barely advanced any technology-related plans for Queensland during the election, and both Bates and Nicholls are typical of state politicians in that they broadly know what the issues are in their portfolios, but don’t really understand technology at a fundamental level (as Bates’ fatuous hacking claims regarding her social networking accounts proves).

    It was a similar situation with the Bligh Labor Government. While the state did talk up its technology policy credentials more so than some other states have (such as NSW, which under the previous Labor Government might well not have been aware that it was possible to have a technology policy), in real terms it was broadly the state’s public servants who were responsible for getting needed initiatives such as whole of government IT infrastructure consolidation programs approved through their relevant ministers.

    If those ministers had understood a bit more about the ambitious technology programs which were authorised in the state’s public sector over the past half-decade, they might have had a bit more oversight. As it stands, they didn’t — and now those same programs, having suffered major delivery issues, will be handed over to a government, which, while new, enthusiastic and well-resourced, will similarly not quite understand what they are dealing with.

    As I’ve written previously, when it comes to IT projects and even ‘keeping the lights on’ for IT infrastructure, Australia’s state governments are a disaster area. We can hold out hope that things will change for the better in Queensland under the LNP, but realistically I do not personally believe that they will.

    submit to reddit

    1 Comment

    You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

    1. Rod Werc
      Posted 02/04/2012 at 6:15 pm | Permalink |

      The QLD LNP model of two Ministers and their relevant machinery is similar to what Victoria decided in 2006 which has been a huge failure in terms of driving greater innovation and org productivity. Neither did this model stop massive project failures in Victoria.




    Get our 'Best of the Week' newsletter on Fridays

    Just the most important stories, one email a week.

    Email address:


  • Enterprise IT stories

    • Super funds close to dumping $250m IT revamp facepalm2

      If you have even a skin deep awareness of the structure of Australia’s superannuation industry, you’ll be aware that much of the underlying infrastructure used by many of the nation’s major funds is provided by a centralised group, Superpartners. One of the group’s main projects in recent years has been to dramatically update and modernise its IT platform — its version of a core banking platform overhaul. Unfortunately, the $250 million project has not precisely been going well.

    • Qld’s Grant joins analyst firm IBRS peter-grant

      This week it emerged that Peter Grant, the two-time former Queensland Whole of Government CIO (pictured), has joined well-regarded analyst firm Intelligent Business Research Services (IBRS). We’ve long had a high regard for IBRS, and so it’s fantastic to see such an experienced executive join its ranks.

    • Westpac dumps desk phones for Samsung Android mobiles samsung-galaxy-ace-3

      The era of troublesome desk phones tied to physical locations is gradually coming to an end in many workplaces, with mobile phones becoming increasingly popular as organisations’ main method of voice telecommunications. But some groups are more advanced than others when it comes to adoption of the trend. One of those is Westpac.

    • Ministers’ cloud approval lasted just a year reverse

      Remember how twelve months ago, the Federal Government released a new cloud computing security and privacy directive which required departments and agencies to explicitly acquire the approval of the Attorney-General and the relevant portfolio minister before government data containing private information could be stored in offshore facilities? Remember how the policy was strongly criticised by Microsoft, Government CIOs and Delimiter? Well, it looks like the policy is about to be reversed.

    • WA Govt can’t fund school IT upgrades oops key

      In news from The Department of Disturbing Facts, iTNews revealed late last week that Western Australia’s Department of Education has run out of money halfway through the deployment of new fundamental IT infrastructure to the state’s schools.

    • Turnbull outlines Govt ICT vision turnbull-5

      Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has published an extensive article arguing that the Federal Government needed to do a better job of connecting with Australians via digital channels and that public sector IT projects needn’t cost the huge amounts that some have in the past.

    • NZ Govt pushes hard into cloud zealand

      New Zealand’s national Government announced a whole of government contract this morning for what it terms ‘Office Productivity as a Service’ services. This includes email and calendaring services, as well as file-sharing, mobility, instant messaging and collaboration services. The contract complements two existing contracts — Desktop as a Service and Enterprise Content Management as a Service.

    • CommBank reveals Harte’s replacement whiteing

      The Commonwealth Bank of Australia has promoted an internal executive who joined the bank in September after a lengthy career at petroleum giant VP and IT services group Accenture to replace its outgoing chief information officer Michael Harte, who announced in early May that he would leave the bank.

    • Jeff Smith quits Suncorp for IBM jeffsmith4

      Second-tier Australian bank and financial services group Suncorp today announced that its long-serving top technology executive Jeff Smith would leave to take up a senior role with IBM in the United States, in an announcement which marks the end of an era for the nation’s banking IT sector.

    • Small business missing the mobile, social, cloud revolution iphone-stock

      Most companies that live and breathe the online revolution are not tech startups, but smart smaller firms that use online tools to run their core business better: to cut costs, reach customers and suppliers, innovate and get more control. Many others, however, are falling behind, according to a new Grattan Institute discussion paper.

  • Blog, Enterprise IT - Jul 5, 2014 13:53 - 0 Comments

    Super funds close to dumping $250m IT revamp

    More In Enterprise IT


    Blog, Telecommunications - Jul 5, 2014 12:12 - 0 Comments

    What should the ACCC’s role be in guiding infrastructure spending?

    More In Telecommunications


    Analysis, Industry, Internet - Jun 23, 2014 10:33 - 0 Comments

    ‘Google Schmoogle’ – how Yellow Pages got it so wrong

    More In Industry


    Blog, Digital Rights - Jun 30, 2014 22:24 - 0 Comments

    Will Netflix launch in Australia, or not?

    More In Digital Rights