HealthSMART, myki cop Vic budget bashing

Summary:Victorian State Treasurer Kim Wells last night released the state's budget, and blamed costly projects such as myki and HealthSMART for the budget's $7 billion debt figures.

Victorian State Treasurer Kim Wells last night released the state's budget, and blamed costly projects such as myki and HealthSMART for the budget's $7 billion debt figures.

Brawl

(Fight Club image by Polina Sergeeva, CC BY 2.0)

"Major projects inherited by this government — including myki … and HealthSMART — face significant cost overruns which total around $2 billion and have further contributed to the run-up of debt," the treasurer said.

As a result of the myki and HealthSMART blowouts, among other things, Victoria is set to carry a debt of $7.5 billion — higher than previously forecast. HealthSMART will receive $6.7 million worth of funding in this year's budget, with future funding riding on a report yet to be handed down by the state's auditor-general.

The treasurer also put the boot into Victoria's troubled smart meter program in his speech.

"Families should at least feel that the government is on their side. Victorians did not expect billions of dollars to be wasted on … smart meters which have forced up power bills," the treasurer said.

ZDNet Australia contacted the offices of the energy, roads and health ministers for comment on how likely the cancellation of these projects is; however, no comment was received at the time of publication.

Despite the smart card, health and meter backlash, the government will still provide hundreds of millions of dollars to new ICT projects in the areas of health, science, teaching and energy.

Education IT is the big winner in the budget, with funding to continue flowing to the national secondary school computer fund.

The first Baillieu budget has doubled the investment in this initiative, with government schools set to receive $29.6 million, while non-government schools can expect a 110 per cent increase to $19.8 million. TAFEs are also set to receive $9.5 million in funding to purchase up-to-date teaching equipment.

Despite HealthSMART's budgetary burden, Victoria will also invest in several tech-centric initiatives in the health sector, including boosting the investment in digital mammography for BreastScreen Australia and providing the Royal Children's Hospital with patient administration systems and new clinical software for $5 million.

VicTrack is set to receive over $7.2 million in funding for the construction of a new datacentre and fibre optic network, as well as the implementation of a new unified communications system.

Topics: Health, CXO, Government, Government : AU

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A fresh recruit onto the tech journalism battlefield, Luke Hopewell is eager to see some action. After a tour of duty in the belly of the Telstra beast, he is keen to report big stories on the enterprise beat. Drawing on past experience in radio, print and magazine, he plans to ask all the tough questions you want answered.

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