Gillard or Abbott, there will be cuts

Summary:Regardless of whoever wins Australia's next election, the big spending Rudd days are over and austerity is in. Labor or Liberal, Gillard or Abbott; government IT bosses will have to get the knives out.

Regardless of whoever wins Australia's next election, the big spending Rudd days are over and austerity is in. Labor or Liberal, Gillard or Abbott; government IT bosses will have to get the knives out.

It will just be a matter of what degree.

This week, we have seen the leaders of the world's major economies rediscover the virtues of fiscal prudence, with the G20 Summit declaring governments will bring their deficit and spending under control.

Even before the summit, Australia planned to have its budgets back in surplus within a few years.

New Zealand is also reducing the deficit its National-led government inherited from the Labour governments of Helen Clark.

Britain's new conservative-led government has just delivered an emergency budget to help remedy the financial black hole left by Labour PM Gordon Brown.

Many British government departments face budget cuts of 25 per cent and IT is expected to form part of these cuts or at least generate efficiency savings to help deliver them.

On the day of Julia Gillard's victory, I attended a media dinner with one of New Zealand's largest corporation and in the informal chatter, the impact of political change was addressed.

Talking to the CEO of the large organisation, which has operations at both sides of the Tasman, I noted the cost cutting of the new UK government and asked what changes had there been in New Zealand since the defeat of its Labour government in November 2008.

The CEO admitted there had been waste under the old regime. Now, the various government departments and agencies are keen on "end-to-end solutions" that deliver cost savings, he said.

Australia's government IT bosses can expect the same.

If Tony Abbott wins the next election, he'll bring about spending cutbacks, including axing your NBN. But it's just as likely that a Gillard-led government will also cut spending, as UK Labour planned.

The current Gillard government might have the same old faces, but the new PM is already creating some policy differences with Rudd on matters like mining and the ETS.

The PM, once associated with the left, has already undergone an interesting shift to the right with her union backers. Whatever it takes to grab and stay in power.

The political winds globally are blowing back towards a smaller state after socialist excess almost bankrupted countries in Europe. Australia also sees the waste of the Rudd years.

Julia Gillard, out of expediency, will to some extent follow Tony Abbott, who will cut out of faith.

Britain and New Zealand now have cash-strapped conservative governments using technology in a wider plan to cut costs and government spending to help undo the spendthrift excesses of their left-wing predecessors.

So government IT bosses, unless your projects deliver cost savings, get out your knives!

Topics: Government, Government : AU, New Zealand

About

Darren Greenwood has been in journalism, not all of it IT, since the days of typewriters and long before the web spun its way around the world.Coming from Yorkshire, he can be blunt, and though having resided in New Zealand, as well as Australia, for quite some time, he insists he is not one of the 'sheeple!'

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