Victoria’s Innovation Minister has pleaded with members of the IT industry not to judge the state government on its checkered IT past and instead help it turn over a new leaf.
He conceded in a speech to members of the AIIA in Melbourne on Thursday that “the Victorian government is no doubt a little bit shy when it comes to IT projects”.
“We have suffered under previous governments - whether they’re Liberal or Labor - with ICT procurement, cost overruns, and not getting it right,” he said.
The state has never fully got past a startling 2011 Ombudsman’s report that catalogued $1.4 billion worth of IT project overruns, including the expensive Myki electronic ticketing project and VicRoads’ since-dumped registration and licensing system upgrade.
It has also struggled through a cyber security strategy that never was, and the now-notorious Ultranet project, the executive of which has since been dragged before the state’s corruption watchdog.
But Dalidakis asked the private sector to have some empathy with the complex enterprises making up the state government.
“We are not alone,” he said.
“From my own experience in the private sector I know that they are every bit as bad at IT procurement as the government has been.”
He said he hopes industry can work with the state towards a different future, insisting that “we need to double-down on our IT investment. We need to continually look at moving to the cloud as fast as we can”.
“We need to invest in cyber security across all of our agencies. We need to make sure our systems are robust and deliver what we need," the minister said.
The Andrews Labor government released its first ICT strategy in March last year, featuring a number of new oversight mechanisms designed to keep future IT projects in check.
Dalidakis and his colleagues are hoping that it might usher in a more positive era for the state’s IT management.
“Don’t be scornful of our past but encourage us for our future,” he said.
“Because if we get this right there is a lot to achieve - whether it is health records, whether it is data you need to get from point a to point b, whether it is information about schools in your areas and class sizes in real time.”