Qld Govt justifies axing 400 IT workers

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, Government AU, IT Employment, Australia

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  • ..

    When i began reading the article i was a little 'Why are they targeting IT to cut down on!' but after further reading it appears they are just cutting jobs in every sector, some may just be a cleanup so the money can be spent more efficiently.

    But i guess this is also going to become a lot more common, with less and less IT needed on site.
  • The stupid part is...

    The contractors they let go were the only ones doing any work. Qld Gov IT is full of useless paper pushers, but that is true of all govt departments. But they start by sacking the external people who are the ones doing all the heavy lifting.
    • Do you audit every dept ?

      Didn't realise you were omniscient gr1f .
    • You're spot on

      You are right gr1f. Unfortunately, the only people producing any meaningful results in the IT sections of the Qld Government were these contractors. They may cost twice as much, but they actually produce 5-10 times the results, thus delivering value for money.
      The LNP may think it is saving money, but it is actually destroying outcomes. False economy.
  • Labor was warned about this years ago.

    Well Qld Labor was warned about this and the chose to shoot the messenger (Me). This is a perfect example of why I resigned from Simon Finn's ICT Workgroup, the Industry knew about this and the ICT Workgroup was used to gag them.

    Congratulations to the New government for being open and honest about the scale of the problem now the industry needs to work with them hand in hand to fix the problems before they shut down the governments ICT systems.

    This is a great chance to innovate in a time of crisis.

    Bruce Mills
    • The LNP has created the crisis Bruce

      The crisis has been created by the LNP in the name of 'cost saving'. Talk about throwing the baby out with the bathwater.
  • Really more off the shelf...only if you are mad as a hatter.

    Having worked for one of the largest IT companies in the world and now being employed within Qld Government IT, I can tell you that many of the contractors are neither more skilled nor more experienced than the permanent IT staff in Queensland government.

    Many permanent IT staff in queensland government sit next to a contractor who earns double the hourly rate doing the same work. Originally brought in to fill a temporary gap some have stayed on for eight or so years. Supposedly the government were pay their professional staff same as the market but that's just talk. If you mention this you are reminded that you get less because you job is secure and the contractors isn't. Something that if no longer true.

    As for the cost of replacment for "off the shelf" softwatre bought ten years ago where the vendor no longer supports it. Buying more "off the shelf" software to replace it will lead to the same crisis in ten years time. Just a bit further up the proverbial creek.

    e.g. Project manager within government cost about $60/hour. Contract project manager $100 to $120 an hour. And will leave half way through a project if offered $10 more else where.