A pending IT renewal that could not be put off any longer appears to be the straw that broke the back of the Australian Valuation Office (AVO).
Parliamentary secretary to the treasurer, Steve Ciobo, announced at the end of last week that the 103 year old agency would be closed on 30 June, and that its roughly 200 staff would no longer have jobs there.
On top of dwindling revenues - as major clients like the Department of Human Services have scaled back their usage in recent years - the AVO faced a set of urgent IT upgrades which the Coalition Government said it couldn’t afford.
“The Australian Valuation Office has advised the total cost of information technology upgrades was estimated at $1 million.
“This included upgrading server infrastructure, systems migration, data warehousing and procuring third party cloud services,” a spokesman for Ciobo told iTnews.
In 2010, feedback from the AVO’s biggest client Centrelink singled out IT as the biggest issue with the services that the agency provided.
“Almost without exception, comments related to functionality of AVO Online (a web based application), access to AVO Online and/or its usability,” a call out for computer programmers issued by parent agency the Australian Taxation Office read.
“In addition, AVO Valuation services group identifies that the SmartVal system (a Windows form-based application) and valuation templates are needed to be fixed and enhanced,” it said.
The services once provided by the AVO, including land and asset valuation, will now be sought from the private sector.
“A compelling case for the Commonwealth providing its own valuation services no longer exists, particularly given there is a highly competitive market of private sector providers,” Ciobo said.