Defence ignores budget IT queries

Defence ignores budget IT queries

Summary: The Department of Defence has been unable to answer questions on how exactly it intends to achieve extensive information technology savings detailed in the 2009 Federal Budget.


The Department of Defence has been unable to answer questions on how exactly it intends to achieve extensive information technology savings detailed in the 2009 Federal Budget.

Defence CIO Greg Farr

When the Federal Budget was released earlier this month it revealed that Defence's chief information officer group (CIOG) needed to find $166 million in savings over four years.

The document suggested replacing contractors with internal staff as a major part of the cost cutting, but no further details were supplied.

Two days after the release of the budget, asked Defence how exactly it intended to meet this target, including how many contractors would go and how many internal staff would be hired. But no answer to queries has been received since that time.

Apart from reducing contractor spend, which had been recommended in the Federal Government's Gershon review of IT, Defence Minister Joel Fitzgibbon talked about making Defence's IT function more efficient.

The silence has come as the department has recently been attacked for wasting money on its contractor spend, according to an article in The Australian.

Due to an incident in March where some high-fliers in Canberra were unable to start their computers, the paper wrote that the Department had introduced a rule that restricted the amount of information technology maintenance its contractors could do while parliament was sitting.

The restriction has reportedly meant that on sitting days contractors were unable to do the work for which they were being paid a daily rate — which could be thousands of dollars a day — unless they were granted an exemption. Obtaining an exemption was reported to be a lengthy process.

At the time of writing Defence has not returned a comment on this issue.

Topics: Government AU, Government

Suzanne Tindal

About Suzanne Tindal

Suzanne Tindal cut her teeth at as the site's telecommunications reporter, a role that saw her break some of the biggest stories associated with the National Broadband Network process. She then turned her attention to all matters in government and corporate ICT circles. Now she's taking on the whole gamut as news editor for the site.

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  • Easy...sack management!

    The management of IT is stacked with folks who could not find their bum with both hands.
    Cost savings will only happen when the dead wood is removed and the consultants put back on their leashes.
  • If it aint broke, don't fix it

    PC desktops and laptops carry a lot of dross these days. Most of it imposed due to well meaning but sometimes misguided senior management.
    There is little point in weighing down a basic Windows install with any additional software if it then fails to fulfil its primary purpose and becomes a slow lumbering beast.
    Most PC users in an office or departmental type environment, will only use a small handful of applications and most of these could be delivered by replacing PCs with their abundance of intrusive virus protection and suite of management software applications with a thin client and Citrix server hosted applications. This dramatically reduces infection risks and centralises the software management. Users must also centralise their data as the thin client will keep no record after a reboot. This setup will also reduce the need for much of the PC maintenance that is currently performed and will prevent local customisation that actually creates the maintenenace nightmare in the first place.
    While laptops will still remain necessary for those taking their work with them, their configuration should still not be so constrained that they become unstable on or off the network.
    As for admin rights, I'm all in favour of removing them in general from users if and only if, the configuration of all the software is correct. I for one, don't expect to experience any slowness in my laptops these days, particularly based on their alleged speeds, but IT departments, it would appear, seem to think otherwise.