Qld industry calls for ICT shake-up

Qld industry calls for ICT shake-up

Summary: Industry group Software Queensland has called for an overhaul of the Queensland Government's ICT portfolio, and has expressed its disappointment in the recent ministerial appointments of both the state Labor Government and the shadow Liberal National party.

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Industry group Software Queensland has called for an overhaul of the Queensland Government's ICT portfolio, and has expressed its disappointment in the recent ministerial appointments of both the state Labor Government and the shadow Liberal National party.

MP for Yeerongpilly, Simon Finn was appointed to the state's ICT portfolio in Premier Bligh's February Cabinet reshuffle, while Ros Bates, MP for Mudgeeraba, was announced as the shadow ICT minister 10 days ago and will be sworn in at the next sitting.

Chair of Software Queensland, John Vickers, isn't happy with either minister, and believes that these two appointments and the positioning of the state's ICT portfolio under the Department of Public Works points to ICT being undervalued by the parliament.

"Both appointments reflect a sad lack of understanding and appreciation of the transformational aspects of ICT, and the ICT portfolio has been tacked onto a list of diverse, unrelated and seemingly random portfolios as an afterthought," Vickers said in a statement.

"Our message is that the ICT industry is once again not being taken seriously, and we are once more being marginalised and treated as an afterthought," he added.

Vickers told ZDNet Australia that the entire portfolio needs an overhaul to make it relevant to Queensland's future.

"The portfolio absolutely needs to be overhauled," he said, adding that coupling it with the construction and public works portfolio is doing it a disservice.

"Queensland won't always be digging holes and trenches into the future ... [the portfolio] should be linked with science and, dare I say, 'higher' industries," Vickers said.

If the government doesn't overhaul the portfolio, Vickers suggested that the two ministers can at least take responsibility for their own knowledge, filling their staff with IT-savvy advisers to start making the right decisions.

"I don't expect the ministers to be a genius in IT," he said, adding that, "what you do is you get some really good advisers. At no time have we been notified as to who the advisers are".

Above all, however, Vickers is calling for consultation with the new ministers.

"The first thing they should be doing is communicating. Call a roundtable ... Simon may well have done a couple of IT courses in his background and I wish him well, but he hasn't come around the traps and had a chat to the institutions [and] Ros has not bothered to pick a phone up and talk to people [either]," he said.

"Where the hell is IT going?"

Minister Finn offered no comment on the issue when contacted by ZDNet Australia, while Shadow Minister Bates said that she will meet with industry groups after the Easter break.

"I will be meeting with all of the relevant stakeholders in the ICT industry after Easter. I am enthused about the portfolio and will address the issues with the same grass roots consultative methods that I have utilised in other industries," Bates told ZDNet Australia.

Topics: Government, Government AU, Software

Luke Hopewell

About Luke Hopewell

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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