COAG dishes up NEHTA, school PC funds

The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting over the weekend proved lucrative for IT, with the National e-Health Transition Authority (NEHTA) receiving $218 million to continue its operations and state governments receiving an extra $807 million towards the federal government's computers in schools vision.

The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting over the weekend proved lucrative for IT, with the National e-Health Transition Authority (NEHTA) receiving $218 million to continue its operations and state governments receiving an extra $807 million towards the federal government's computers in schools vision.

Credit: ZDNet.com.au

A statement made by COAG seemed to suggest that NEHTA's continued funding was a reward for the authority's good behaviour.

"COAG noted the progress of the National E-Health Transition Authority and agreed to the continued funding of $218 million (50:50 cost shared between the Commonwealth and the states) for the period July 2009 — June 2012, to enable it to continue its existing work program," the statement said.

However, a report completed by the Boston Consulting Group last year painted a less rosy picture of how the organisation was handling things, flagging problems such as recruitment and communication with external stakeholders.

The organisation has also seen some management upheaval recently with the CEO, CFO and CIO all jumping ship.

The extra $807 million in schools' funding came as a response to state government complaints that they would have to pick up much of the tab for the government's election promise to give every school student between years nine and 12 access to a computer.

According to the states, costs such as teacher training, electricity and air conditioning would blow out costs of maintaining all the extra computers, making the government's $1.2 billion insufficient.

Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard said in an AM Radio interview on Friday that the government had commissioned an expert to work with the states and territories to figure out what the "legitimate" on-costs were and was providing the $807 million to meet those costs. She still placed emphasis on the schools using bulk discounts to make the amount of money given feasibly able to cover expenses.