Queensland Public Works and ICT Minister Robert Schwarten has announced that he will resign from his ministry on Monday and will not contest the next election after a controversial year for shared services in the state.
Schwarten took on the role of ICT minister in October 2006 when the Queensland Government first began exploring whole-of-government ICT services.
The shared services strategy came under criticism last year due to the botched implementation of the Queensland Health payroll system that left many healthcare professionals in the state unpaid. The result of a review into the project led to the government moving away from a shared services model.
Announcing his decision to not contest the next election in Queensland parliament on Thursday, the MP for Rockhampton said he felt it was important to also step down as the minister.
"Just after the last election I met with the premier and indicated to her that I did not know whether I would stand at the next election, but that if I did make a decision not to stand at the next election then I would not see out the third year in the ministry, because I have a very firm view that once you make up your mind to retire you really owe it to the team to allow a new person to come forward. So as of Monday I will be tendering my resignation as the minister for public works," he said.
Schwarten said he had become "a great convert" to IT in his time in the portfolio, and thanked Director General of Public Works Mal Grierson for bringing the portfolio to him and for bringing IT into his department.
Grierson said "I have just had this talk to the people over at Treasury and I have had a talk to so-and-so and I think we should really have the IT stuff over here", according to Schwarten.
"Actually, he started his career over at CITEC. So it has been a great ride, mate," Schwarten said.
Queensland Premier Anna Bligh has yet to announce who will replace Schwarten.