Queensland government to overhaul shared services

The Queensland government plans to overhaul shared services and create a one-stop online portal, according to announcements made as part of the budget yesterday.

The Queensland government has not spared IT from cuts as part of its debt-reduction budget, with the government committing to overhaul shared services.

The newly installed Queensland Liberal National government, led by Premier Campbell Newman, yesterday delivered its first budget, aimed at stabilising debt levels of AU$81.7 billion by finding AU$7.8 billion in savings for the next financial year.

In the Department of Science, Information Technology, Innovation and the Arts, AU$1 million will be cut from the whole-of-government provider CITEC for the ICT consolidation project that was tasked with bringing all of the government's datacentres located in Brisbane into one facility. Despite the cut, the government will invest AU$17.2 million in the next financial year to continue the consolidation of datacentres, networks, and infrastructure. AU$3.1 million will be provided to Corporate Solutions to upgrade payroll systems and infrastructure.

In total, the government is hoping to save AU$6.1 million across the entire department, but it wasn't all bad news. Although the government had previously flagged cutting AU$1.5 million from GovNet — the government's information portal — in June, it was announced in the budget that an extra AU$3 million will be provided over the next two years.

IT minister Ros Bates said yesterday that the government's shared services for email, IT, payroll, and HR will be overhauled, and that a new "one-stop shop" will be created for residents to contact the government.

"The previous Labor government applied a 'government knows best' attitude to these vital services. They ignored the desperate need for review, resulting in even more waste and inefficiency," Bates said in a statement. "Our reform agenda will be a boon for the Queensland IT industry, starting with the outsourcing of payroll functions for the Department of Science, Information Technology, Innovation and the Arts."

The Queensland Government Chief Information Office (QGCIO) will conduct an audit of IT systems, and develop a strategy to ensure that the "endorsed" systems are operating efficiently.

Outside of this department, the government announced that it will provide AU$3.5 million in funding to every Queensland special school to provide 20 tablets for student use and 10 tablets for students with special needs.

In addition to an expansion of the force by 1,100 by 2016, Queensland Police received a large portion of the IT funding, totalling AU$27.1 million.

This includes AU$10.8 million for a technology refresh for frontline police services, AU$3.7 million for the Integrated Traffic Camera System project, AU$3.6 million for the Computer Aided Dispatch System, and AU$11.2 million for the Weapons Licence Management System online applications portal.

The government is aiming to save AU$6.9 million over the next four years by not going ahead with IT investment for the Discipline and Complaints Management System.