Western Australian Treasurer Troy Buswell has given the
state's troubled shared services program a new lease of life on the
condition that budget targets and implementation milestones be
"This project has a sorry history which this government does
not want to see repeated. I am committed therefore to providing
aggressive oversight of it from this point forward," the treasurer
said in a statement.
Western Australia's Office of Shared Services was set up in
2003 with expected costs of $91 million, to be offset by $50
million a year savings on the government's $315 million back
office budget. The project was set to be completed by December
2006, with around 90 agencies to be using the services.
By December last year, as the then opposition called for a
judicial inquiry, Buswell said the budget had blown out to $435
million with project completion not expected until 2013.
He believed the project to be an example of the former
government's incompetence and vowed to lift the "veil of
secrecy" around its mismanagement, stating that
an independent review by ICT consultants Quadrant Group
would be released today on the subject.
He said he had almost called a halt to the shared services program as
it stood, and Oracle had came close to having its human resources
and payroll component excluded, with a hybrid HR/payroll system
being introduced instead.
Oracle holds a 10-year, $66.8 million contract with the state to
deliver the project's key technology platform of which the latest
component, the HR/Payroll system, went live in November 2007.
Oracle has subcontracted to a second supplier, Perth-based company
ASG, who also holds a separate, $88 million deal with the state in
its own right.
Yet, given the $202 million the state had already thrown at the
project, and that the Quadrant report had indicated that progress had been
made, the treasurer decided to give the current form of the project
"I will most certainly not allow the situation to re-emerge
where a high-spending, lazy government failed to manage its affairs
and effectively cost the WA taxpayers hundreds of millions of
dollars in the process," Buswell said.