Qld Govt justifies axing 400 IT workers

Summary:The Queensland Government will axe around 400 IT workers to save AU$40,000 per hour.

The Queensland Government has justified axing almost 400 information technology workers by announcing that the move will save taxpayers around AU$40,000 an hour.

Minister for Information Technology Ros Bates said that the decision came out of an interim audit of the government's computer systems.

Bates said that since coming to power, the Liberal National Party (LNP) government has let go 384 IT workers who were on temporary contracts.

Many of the contractors were hired to bridge the gap in full-time workers' skill sets, but remained on the books when they were no longer needed, she said.

"Based on contractors' rates, which range from AU$600 to AU$1,600 per day, we're estimating that we're saving AU$40,000 an hour on IT government contractors," Bates told AAP.

However, the savings might be short lived, with Bates saying the audit also revealed 12 critical computer systems within the government that need major upgrades.

The cost to fix the problem will be between AU$3.3 billion and AU$6 billion, which the government can't afford, she said.

"We don't have the money to fix it and to replace what's been neglected," Bates said.

"So we're going to have to come up with some pretty inventive solutions, like going out to the market for their solutions."

Bates said that the best option might be to install completely new, more modern systems, rather than having the "old, antiquated" systems upgraded.

The Courier-Mail reported today that close to 1,000 IT applications used across the Queensland public service are no longer supported and "pose a major meltdown risk."

But the government is looking to avoid another Queensland Health payroll disaster, with Bates reportedly telling her department to "think right outside the square" for any new IT proposals.

A full audit is to be handed down on October 30.

Queensland Premier Campbell Newman has announced that up to 15,000 public service job cuts will be revealed by the time the state budget is handed down on September 11.

About 5,000 job losses have already been announced.

Josh Taylor contributed to this article.

Topics: Government, Australia, Government : AU, IT Employment

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