Heads roll over Queensland Health payroll debacle

Summary:Queensland government has not ruled out taking legal action against IBM over payroll fiasco.

A handful of highly paid public servants has been sacked, and more are expected to be given their marching orders over Queensland Health's AU$1.2 billion payroll debacle.

Premier Campbell Newman has said that four or five workers involved in the sorry Queensland Health payroll saga have had their contracts terminated in the past 24 hours, but he won't say who they are.

"I think that's unconscionable to name individuals," Newman told reporters on Friday.

The premier would only say that the employees who were let go were from various departments involved in Queensland Health's failed payroll system.

"I'm not going to have people who have let Queenslanders down continue to hold, in many cases, high-paying jobs in the public service," he said.

"When you are on a six-figure pay packet, whether you are the premier or a bureaucrat, the community are entitled to receive strong performance."

Newman couldn't confirm whether the sacked workers would be the last.

"There will be other people who will be looked at," he said.

Newman said the sackings occurred after he gave the Public Service Commissioner the criteria to adopt when taking action against those involved.

He also said the state government hadn't ruled out taking legal action against IT giant IBM.

That's despite an inquiry which earlier this month found that there was no way the state could pursue damages because the former Labor government had already settled with, rather than sued, IBM.

"There has been suggestions of ways to look at IBM's conduct to see whether the state can mount a legal action against them, and we are investigating those outlets," Newman said.

But the premier said the state wouldn't pursue legal action just for the sake of it.

"We are not going to spend money, waste money, unless there is a case to go forward," he said.

Updated at 4.41pm AEST: Added comments by Newman on refusal to name those sacked and possible legal action against IBM.

Topics: Government : AU, IBM

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