Qld budget offers up little joy for IT sector

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Qld budget offers up little joy for IT sector

Electronic health purse expands, police iPads funded.

The Queensland Government has once again decided to steer clear of big-ticket IT projects in a state budget avowedly free of “flashy new announcements and programs”.

The biggest funding allocations in this year’s Queensland budget will go towards ongoing projects within the health and emergency services portfolios.

Electronic health reforms - including the continued rollout of integrated electronic medical records - has received a boost for 2014-15, with nearly $200 million allocated to fund the whole suite of central health IT projects for the year.

Last year the sum total for the same program was $135.1 million.

Health Minister Lawrence Springborg explained the money would go towards health’s new ICT strategy, centred upon rationalising and simplifying tech functions and establishing partnerships with the private sector for “the innovative delivery of health services”.

Queensland Health unveiled plans last year to outsource much of its IT back office, starting with end-user services and telephony.

The government has also come through with the $457 million already promised for the establishment and operation of the secure Government Wireless Network over the next 15 years, which has been contracted to a consortium led by Telstra.

Just over $72 million of this will be spent before the end of 2014, as Brisbane’s emergency services secure the city ahead of the November G20 summit.

New allocations, however, were few and far between.

The budget introduces the whole-of-government Tactical Cyber Security Plan, to be led by the Department of Science, IT, Innovation and the Arts.

The $3.1 million initiative began this year and will continue through to the end of 2014-15, aiming “to make tactical improvements in cyber security capability and awareness within Queensland Government departments”.

The brand new Public Service Business Agency (PSBA) – an amalgam of the back office functions of the Queensland Police, Queensland Ambulance and Fire and Emergency Services – has pocketed $15.7 million for a range of technology enabled initiatives.

An undisclosed portion of this money will go towards paying for the 1250 new iPads due to be rolled out to Queensland Police officers ahead of G20.

Another $5 million will go to the Department of Natural Resources and Mines to add more core storage adjacent to their existing data centre at Zillmere.

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