Queensland premier Campbell Newman has moved to quickly plug the ministerial hole left following the resignation of IT minister Ros Bates late last week.
Stepping into the breach is former assistant minister for planning reform, Ian Walker.
While his new, official title is Minister for science, information technology, innovation and the arts, it’s the IT facet which is likely to immediately dominate Walker's focus.
The Minister, a former lawyer at Norton Rose with little previous IT experience, will need to decide when to release the results of the state’s $5 million State of IT audit.
The report, which was to provide a masterplan for the review of some 900 IT projects and 10,000 systems, was stalled at the ministers’ review level. Bates had declined to release the report, which was originally slated for public consumption in November last year.
A preliminary version of the report found the state would need to spend up to $5 billion fixing a variety of systems found to be old, running out of vendor support or simply unsuitable for the tasks they needed to perform.
One in six systems were found to be critically vulnerable. Also in the spotlight are the government’s 20,000 desktops, all running the venerable Windows XP operating system. Microsoft has indicated it will cease support for XP in just over a year’s time.