LNP Qld Government kicks off IT cuts


news The new LNP Queensland State Government has kicked off a substantial drive to reduce the amount it spends on technology-related goods and services, even ahead of a landmark audit of the state’s public sector technology use, expected to be handed down in December this year.

In a brief statement to Delimiter late last week, Paul Campbell, executive officer of the state-funded ICT Industry Workgroup, confirmed that his office had had its funding cut, after a detailed report on ZDNet.com outed the situation on Thursday.

The group was set up in 2005 to represent the industry to government, with the aim of building closer links between the pair. However, it has struggled in its mission over its history, with the state’s ICT sector often having an acrimonious relationship with the Government. In addition, it has suffered criticism from other industry groups in the state for what some saw as too close a relationship with the state government.

Also last week, new Queensland Technology Minister Ros Bates issued a media release noting that the state was planning to kick off a wide-ranging program aimed at cutting the amount of money it spent on printing. Bates said a senior level officer in each department would be assigned to manage and coordinate print services, including budget and consolidating print-related purchases.

“Settings on all print devices will also be optimised to reduce the use of energy and consumables,” she said. “All machines will be set to print in black and white, double-sided at draft quality and colour printing will be only used where necessary. All print devices will also have settings enabled for energy saving/sleep modes when they are not in use.”

Bates said the changes were the first to come out of a wide-ranging ICT audit Queensland is currently conducting and which is due to produce its final report in December this year. “We expect to see many more [changes],” said Bates, “resulting in millions of dollars more in savings for taxpayers.”

Bates said that the Newman Government was committed to cutting waste, ensuring taxpayers’ money was used wisely and paying down the massive debt left behind by Labor. “Money that is saved through initiatives like this can be reinvested to revitalise frontline services, such as hospitals, police and education and the ICT systems that support them,” she said.

The cuts come just weeks after the Courier-Mail newspaper reported that IT jobs were also on the line in some Queensland departments. “The Sunday Mail has been told 180 temporary IT staff in the Department of Education – whose contracts end on June 30 – will be told tomorrow they are not needed after some had long-term contracts with the Government for years,” the newspaper reported in late May.

However, at least one major area of the Queensland public sector has been spared so far, although its future is not assured. A landmark report into the Queensland Government’s financial position penned by Howard-era Treasurer Peter Costello and published in June recommended the state government consider selling off its IT shared services units CITEC and Queensland Shared Services, as there was no guarantee they could provide IT services to the government efficiently.

However, in its interim response to the Costello report published last week, the new LNP Government made no immediate mention of the future of the IT shared services units. Their fate may be further detailed in the State’s next budget in September, at which point the Government expects to make further announcements in relation to the Costello report.

After 20-odd years of Labor in power, it’s no surprise that the new LNQ Queensland Government is wielding the axe. I would say it’s a pretty bad time to be working in technology in the state government – unless you’re the sort of technologist who loves implementing programs to make things more efficient and cut costs. In that case, it’s probably a great time to be around ;)

Image credit: Daniel L, royalty free, Internode


  1. Maybe some of the savings could also go to abating the effects of climate change, like saving the Barrier Reef!

  2. ‘A senior level officer in each department to coordinate print services’, yep, that sounds about right. The Peter Principle at work again…

  3. Maybe they could turn off the printers completely? That way, they’d waste no further paper or ink. And just to be sure, they could turn off the computers too, so users have nothing to print *from*.

    Next up, turn off the powers to the escalators so users have to walk up and down them. You laugh? There was a boss somewhere once who really ordered such a move! It was in one of the Dilbert books.

  4. To give some context for non-QLDers, the QLD government is currently accruing about $14 million a day in interest on debts (that’s over $500,000+ per hour) . Hence the steps taken by the new government to curtail this situation. At this stage I think they are working on the idea that lots of little savings (such as with these printing costs) can add up. This may be the case but they will need major expenditure cuts from somewhere shortly. At the same time, given that Windows XP is the defactor desktop in most department, a lot of big metal core infrastructure servers are very dated, and the ongoing payroll IT disaster, it is clear that long delayed major investment in ICT will soon be required.

  5. Correction to Northern Blue: long delayed major investment in ICT !!!

    You are missing the fundamental point here in QLD and most likely else where.

    The clients of government IT departments – (including Tax payer) particlarly those in Queensland have to some extent alreadly largely paid for substantial ICT infrastructure investments that you are describing.

    The point of the matter is that these investments have largely been spent for no discernable outcomes/benefit to the IT client base.

    Increasingly Treasuries will control the agenda – outsource and devolve to cloud computing – as they rightly discover that the money was spent and it has still left them with ICT infrastructure that is still requiring upgrade.

    The party for IT infrastructure investment is already over! Why pay the IT industry to continue to not deliver – when we are clients and as tax payers have largely paid for it already – Basically the QGCIO driven top down centralisation of ICT has failed – at the same time internal dept infrastructures grew. Name an ICT project in QLD government that has delivered – winning an IT award doesnt count.

    We spent it and potentially increasingly like the mining boom we will wonder where did it all go – (I know to high priced contractors/consultants whose noses were in the trough).

    That is the underlying story here.

  6. “Settings on all print devices will also be optimised to reduce the use of energy and consumables,” she said. “All machines will be set to print in black and white, double-sided at draft quality and colour printing will be only used where necessary. All print devices will also have settings enabled for energy saving/sleep modes when they are not in use.”

    …But we won’t spend a dime on software that can track and measure this kind of thing and actually hold people accountable in their departments, that would be just too much to actually have real, accurate reporting. Imagine if those reports ever got out to the public…

    Ok sarcasm aside, and full disclosure, this is actually my job. I’m the guy that comes in to your business and helps you cut your print and copy spend by 30%*, but it’s going to cost you. It’s called a return on investment. We’ve been trying to sell these solutions to the Qld Gov’t for years but no one wants to listen. It’s either “not in the budget”, or “not on the agenda”. And to be quite frank, not a single person in the public service seems to understand the concept of ROI.

    (Tying to find a vendor neutral white-paper is like trying to find a non-branded car)

  7. Dan, get your company on the QLD gov purchasing panel for managed print services and you might have more luck. No agencies will dare to deviate from these SOAs in the current climate.
    A number of agencies already have managed print services arrangements in place, the rest are now assessing their options.

Comments are closed.