blog It’s been well-known for quite some time now that the Queensland Government is seeking to cut ICT staff. In fact, we’ve already seen several rounds of redundancies from the state in this area, and I have no doubt this effort will be ongoing, although some of the speculation on the issue from unions has seemed a little extreme at times. But what we haven’t had before is a precise figure from the state about precisely how many jobs will be going in the near term. Well, if a statement made by a senior bureaucrat in ICT Minister Ian Walker’s Department of Science, Information Technology, Innovation and the Arts yesterday is to be believed, it will be about 430 in the short term. Deputy Director-General, Government ICT, Andrew Spina, told a budget estimates hearing in the Queensland Parliament yesterday (PDF):
“If we actually look at the service delivery statement, we have identified a reduction in staff for the next financial year, which represents a movement of corporate resources and a movement of resources from the Chief Technology Office to a number of 430. That is our predicted number at this point in time.”
If you’re at all interested in this issue, I highly recommend you check out the full Hansard transcript of the Estimates hearing, especially starting from page 59, which is the point at which Minister Walker and his departmental staff get involved in the estimates hearing. Not only does Walker go into depth about the Queensland Government’s current actions to tackle its numerous ICT issues, but the jobs issue and the future of ICT shared services outfit CITEC is extensively discussed.
To be honest, I’m not clear myself as to where the 430 jobs which Spina mentioned are going from. It doesn’t seem right that Queensland would have 430 staff centralised in a ‘chief technology office’ as the bureaucrat mentions, unless we’re talking about CITEC, which Spina appeared to say was separate from those estimates. Perhaps someone who works in Queensland Government IT could clarify in the comments with respect to what precisely Spina was talking about. I will also at this point repeat the comments I made when Queensland’s main public sector union recently claimed some 2,000 ICT staff were set to be outsourced in the state:
“I’m a bit torn on this one. On the one hand, I do indeed feel quite sorry for those Queensland Government ICT workers who are about to lose their previously secure jobs. And it’s also true that the new outsourcing moves will be only the most recent time in a growing string of occasions when ICT workers have been cut from the Queensland Government.
However, there’s also a much larger issue here. There’s no point employing qualified ICT professionals if that model is fundamentally broken, and the Queensland Government’s ICT Audit document has starkly demonstrated that the in-house IT services model is broken in the state government. One of the next (many) moves which the state has to take to be able to stop some of its functions being rendered “inoperable”, as the report found in the medium to long term, has to be outsourcing some ICT work. And that’s just a fact. I anticipate that there will be quite a few jobs going at major ICT outsourcing firms with a Queensland presence fairly shortly (the majors like IBM, Fujitsu, HP, CSC, Unisys and so on, as well as smaller groups like Dimension Data and Data#3), and I encourage any IT professionals currently working in the Queensland Government to examine their position. Because, as Bob Dylan sings, I feel a change comin’ on.”