Govt ICT projects to suffer under budget cuts

The office of the Queensland minister for Information and Communication Technology has suggested there will be cuts to the state’s IT projects as a result of the recent foods.

“Given the flood crisis in Queensland, each department will be reviewing its future work program so it is likely there will be changes to some projects across government, including those related to ICT,” a spokesperson for the Minister for Public Works and Information and Communication Technology, Robert Schwarten, told Computerworld Australia.

“It is likely to be some weeks before the Department of Public Works is aware of agency decisions.”

The comments follow statements from Queensland Premier, Anna Bligh, earlier in the week that the state government was working through its finances and would likely have to reprioritise projects and spending. However, she would not comment on specific projects that would be delayed or cut back.

“It's too early for that, but I think I do need to flag that some reprioritisation, you know, in the short term may be necessary and I think that that's what families are doing right now,” she said.

“You know, they're going to be putting off holidays this year or not spending money on something they really wanted to do so that they can recover their homes and their lives and that's what the state will have to do.”

Bligh said the state government was also in discussions about how the cost of “the largest reconstruction effort Australia's ever had to put together” would be split between state and federal governments.

While no specifics have been given on government ICT spending cuts, it is clear that should cuts take place, they are likely to have a significant impact.

The state is less than two years into a major five-year transformation program, Toward Q2 through ICT, which seeks to utilise information technology to achieve better delivery of government services.

The program has a number of goals to be implemented by the end of this year, including the government requiring all agencies to work collaboratively to deliver an ICT management framework.

By year’s end the government is also due to implement a whole-of-government “best practice delivery framework” for the implementation of standardised project, program and benefits management methodologies.

By 2012 Queenslanders are also expected to be able to conduct 50 per cent of all government service interactions online, excluding services that require face-to-face delivery.

In December the state’s government said it had delayed the final phase of its controversial $100 million OneSchool program, which was slated to provide a single student, curriculum, resource and financial management point for government schools in the state.

In October the Queensland Government Chief Information Office (QGCIO) remained tightly focused on ICT issues in the state three months on from its major restructuring, according to the agency.

At the time the state opposition called for Schwarten’s head after a string of delayed and problematic government technology projects yesterday became a fiery issue in parliament.

Follow Tim Lohman on Twitter: @TLohman

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU


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