Qld IT strategy will prevent payroll system repeat: Walker

A repeat of Queensland Health's payroll debacle simply won't happen again, says the state's IT minister, thanks to a new IT strategy that is meant to halt problem projects.
Written by Michael Lee, Contributor

Queensland's IT minister Ian Walker has promised that the Newman government will not have another Queensland Heath payroll debacle thanks to the release of its new IT strategy.

Releasing the strategy on Friday, it outlines how the government will move away from its former model of building, owning, and maintaining its own IT infrastructure, and move toward an IT-as-a-service model.

Queensland's IT infrastructure and systems have faced a raft of fiascos, such as the results of a recent audit that found that the state would have to replace almost all of its infrastructure at a cost of AU$7.4 billion, and that systems were left unpatched and used in botnets. It also failed to meet online service demands and stored unencrypted credit card details.

Walker promised, however, that the strategy would address what is probably the most highly publicised IT failure: The failed Health payroll system that is estimated to have cost taxpayers AU$1.2 billion, and has attracted a further AU$5 million inquiry into what went wrong.

"This strategy will ensure Queenslanders will not have to face another debacle like the failed health payroll system, which will cost taxpayers AU$1.25 billion," Walker said in a statement.

"To ensure we never have another health payroll debacle, all high-risk and significant ICT investments will need the endorsement of a new Council of Directors General," he said.

This includes departmental reviews at project milestones to check against the progress of a project and the risk it could present the government.

Security also rated a mention by the minister, who said that although the strategy will help better share information between agencies and the community, it would also consider appropriate information security measures and the privacy of individuals.

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