news Queensland’s Labor government has been caught on the wrong foot again with another failed IT project, with the Queensland Treasury Corporation (QTC) revealing it had spent $15 million on dumped finance platforms, recently terminating a $7.5 million contract with supplier Temenos and throwing away an equivalent amount on internal work.
Shadow Minister for Information and Communication Technology Ros Bates said in a statement that the latest gaffe proved that Labor’s IT disasters were not just confined to Queensland Health. “This latest costly IT gaffe comes on top of the recent revelation Labor has wasted $46 million on its inter-departmental e-mail system costing $23,000 per user, as well as the problem-plagued OneSchool roll-out and the long running health payroll debacle costing more than $220 million to fix,” Bates said.
Bates had previously slammed the Bligh Government’s IDES (Identity, Directory and Email Services) program as a key example of Labor’s long-term waste and mismanagement. In December, it was revealed that $46 million had been spent on the whole of government e-mail platform, despite only 2,000 people signing up to use the system. In July 2011, the Queensland Opposition had accused the incumbent Bligh Labor State Government of “hitting the panic button” in a delayed attempt to catch up on its ICT policy.
Among a series of IT disasters that have rocked the State Government, the most public has been the Queensland Health payroll debacle that had thousands of public sector health workers left without pay after the department’s upgrade to a new SAP-based payroll system was messed up.
Highlighting the “incompetence of the tired, 20 year old Labor Government”, Bates said that major IT projects have drained Queensland taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars more than necessary. “Labor just can’t get IT basics right and Queensland taxpayers are paying the price,” said Bates.
Giving details, Bates said that the QTC’s 2008/09 Annual Report stated that the Temenos banking system had been purchased in April 2009, and had been scheduled to be implemented by July 2010. The 2009/2010 Annual Report stated that the new system was now scheduled to be launched in 2011.
“Backtrack 12 months and the QTC 2010/11 annual report makes no mention of Temenos. Not a word. It’s been dumped and along with it, roundly $15 million of taxpayers’ money,” Bates said. She mentioned that QTC allegedly plans to develop its own system—a move that is meant to be a last resort according to the Queensland government’s Chief Information Office policy platform. She accused Andrew Fraser of being Australia’s worst Treasurer, as he has tried to justify the Bligh government’s $15 million waster as an effort to “ensure a value-for-money outcome”.
Bates called on Simon Finn, the IT Minister, to own up and explain the latest IT scandal. “It’s time for change. It’s time to get Queensland back on track,” Bates said.