news The industry associations backing the Queensland Government’s working group with its ICT industry, including his own, have rejected claims by a high-profile former member that the group had effectively become a mouthpiece for political statements by the state’s technology minister Simon Finn.
The comments came last week by Bruce Mills, joint chief executive officer of consulting firm 3W and a senior figure in the industry. Mills resigned from his position at Software Queensland, as well as the state’s ICT Industry Workgroup, in protest at a number of actions he said the Labor Government had taken, such as failing to consult with the industry on key matters.
The ICT Industry Workgroup was set up in 2005 to represent the industry to government, with the aim of building closer links between the pair.
However, in a joint statement issued today, the eight associations which support the group reject Mills’ complaints. The groups are the Australian Computer Society, the Australian Information Industry Association, the Information technology Contract & Recruitment Association, the IT Forum Gold Coast, Queensland.NET, the Spatial Information Business Association, Women in Technology and Mills’ own former organisation, Software Queensland.
“Recent comments by Mr Mills imply that the industry body has allowed itself to be restrained from promoting the ICT industry’s interests,” wrote the group. “The affiliated associations reject this claim without reservation and continue to support the Workgroup in its role as an important advocate for the Queensland ICT industry.”
“We reject any claims that the Workgroup has or would yield to external pressure, from any quarter, to restrain it from fearlessly presenting the collective views of the Queensland ICT industry … The Workgroup and its affiliates associations continue to work hard to educate and advise all stakeholders on industry issues, regardless of their political affiliations.”
The groups said it had worked hard to develop a professional, working relationship with the government, and the relationship had allowed them to constructively engage with government on many ICT projects that had delivered positive outcomes for industry. “Together, our associations represent the Queensland ICT industry and continue to support and have confidence in the Workgroup’s ability to strongly promote our interest with government,” the groups wrote.
Mills has already responded to the statement on his blog, claiming “it only took a week” for Minister Finn to approve the statement.
“This release is just another example of how spineless the ICT Workgroup has become under the continued pressure from Minister Finn, and their remarks are entirely consistent with their compliant behavior,” the executive wrote, claiming that the release did nothing to address “core questions” such as:
- “Why was pressure put on Software Qld to remove the one person from the ICT Workgroup that was asking questions?”
- “What happened to the report on QLD Health Payroll that the Workgroup produced?”
- “Why has ICT Industry Report Card not been delivered?”
- “How is $150k that [the Department of] Public Works gifts to the ICT Workgroup accounted by both the government and industry?”
“In summary, I still wait for their comments on Qld Health payroll, Oneschool, Drivers’ Licence and the Police Blue Card shambles,” wrote Mills. “Personally I suspect that hell will freeze over before they say anything remotely critical of their sponsors.”
Well, there is no doubt that this bun-fight has turned ugly. Mills has some very valid points, which we’ll be asking the Workgroup — for starters, where are all those reports? And I know from comments a few Queensland ICT industry luminaries have made privately to me over the past week that many in the industry agree with the executive.
On the other hand, the entire Queensland ICT industry has just publicly ostracised Mills with this statement. With even Software Queensland endorsing this morning’s statement, the Minister and the other associations can legitimately claim that Mills is a renegade who doesn’t represent anything near the mainstream view.
The only problem is, after knowing Mills for a few years now, we suspect the executive won’t shut up. He may end up being a thorn in the side of the State Government until Campbell Newman and his team of fresh faces eventually comes through to sweep the past aside for a glorious new LNP future.