​Queensland Budget peppered with IT upgrades

The Queensland government has delivered its 2016-17 Budget, handing out a few million for various departments and agencies to complete IT rollouts and system upgrades.
Written by Asha Barbaschow, Contributor

The Queensland government has allocated a couple of million dollars to continue the replacement, upgrade, and statewide rollout of various information and technology projects.

With a forecasted surplus of AU$867 million, Treasurer Curtis Pitt, who is also Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships and Minister for Sport, handed down the state's 2016-17 Budget, spruiking an economic plan that is focused on jobs by "growing innovation, attracting investment, and building infrastructure".

In addition to the AU$225.2 million allocated towards its Advance Queensland initiative, the state government has upped the spending for the Department of Health by 4.3 percent, with the department receiving a total of AU$15.3 billion.

Reminiscent of both the 2014-15 and 2015-16 budgets, the state will invest AU$119.9 million in the continued state-wide roll out of clinical and administrative support systems and the replacement of ageing technology equipment.

Two years ago, AU$139.9 million was spent on IT equipment to replace, upgrade, and provide future capability to support the eHealth strategy's asset replacement program. A further AU$179 million was invested in the 2015-16 Budget to continue the rollout of the clinical and administrative support systems and equipment.

According to the government, this year's funding will help to ensure the right information and technology is available to the right people at the right time, with the Budget papers highlighting the need to keep the technology in line with emerging technologies to ensure the sustainability of eHealth service delivery.

AU$22.7 million of the health funding will also be given to the Sunshine Coast University Hospital in the Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service for the upgrade of their respective IT systems.

The Queensland Building and Construction Commission has been given capital purchases of AU$4.5 million to relocate two regional offices, continue rolling out its customer relationship management platforms, replace ageing information technology systems, and replace ageing property, plant, and equipment.

The state's IT services provider, CITEC, will receive AU$3.1 million for the replacement of vital assets and critical information brokerage software enhancements.

In May, Queensland Innovation Minister Leeanne Enoch pulled the pin on the decision to outsource the state's IT services, announcing that CITEC would remain a Queensland government-owned information and communication technology provider

The Queensland Police Service will also see AU$12 million for a range of information and communication technology initiatives; and the Queensland Shared Services will receive AU$5.9 million for the consolidation and upgrade of finance and human resource systems.

In a bid to better secure the integrity of the state's revenue base, Pitt ended his Budget speech with the announcement that Queensland will be cracking down on state tax avoidance, hoping to recoup an additional AU$10 million in revenue over three years from those who try to avoid tax -- including those who incorrectly claim to be a not-for-profit organisation.

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