Qld opposition claims govt IT blowouts nearing $450m

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Qld opposition claims govt IT blowouts nearing $450m

Wants CIOs charged with investigating overspend.

The Queensland opposition has accused the state Labor government of almost $450 million in blowouts on technology projects.

Liberal National Party leader Deb Frecklington revealed the figure this week while unveiling a plan to prevent overspend on projects if elected in next year’s state election.

She used the public IT dashboard, which was recently updated to include additional information fields following an adverse audit last year, to compare planned expenditure against present approved expenditure for the 150 active digital and IT enabled initiatives across government.

Frecklington said the difference put the state’s IT projects at $447 million over their original budgets, with more than half of this occurring at Queensland Health ($291.5 million).

It is almost twice as much as was revealed during a similar exercise by the opposition leader last year.

iTnews analysis of the dashboard points to eHealth projects like the integrated electronic medical record (ieMR) program and its financial system renewal project for the overspend.

The ieMR program, for instance, was allocated $86 million when it began in 2016, but now has approved expenditure of $268.5 million.

However Frecklington said blowouts have also occurred in other departments, including Housing and Public Works ($67.5 million), Child Safety, Youth & Women ($33.7 million), Transport and Main Roads ($33.4 million), and Education ($12.3 million).

“Ten years after the health payroll disaster, Labor hasn’t learned a thing,” she said in a statement.

“This waste doesn’t happen in the private sector and it won’t happen under an LNP Government.”

In response, the LNP plans to “introduce a mandatory code for new technology upgrades and create an IT enforcer to prevent waste in the public sector”.

It would also make departments “undergo detailed regular ‘health-checks’” and task chief information officers with “investigating every overspend”.

“We will build a firewall that ensures IT projects stay on track and in the black,” Frecklington said.

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