Queensland Budget sees $815m for IT

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Queensland Budget sees $815m for IT

Analysis: Big money for Health, Police, Transport and emergency services

The Queensland Government is expecting to spend $815 million on various IT investments, expenses and operating costs in 2013-14, according to analysis of the State Budget.

Despite well-documented troubles with ICT in the state, the Government is still allocating funds to new and ongoing projects in its various agencies and corporations.

An iTnews analysis shows the figure is made up of several components:

  • $316.7 million for various IT capital expenses (CapEx) in 2013-14. The big winners include projects within Health, Police, the Department of Transport and Main Roads, emergency services and state-owned utilities.
  • $384 million in funding to the Health Department to rectify its problematic rostering and payroll project, which has been the subject of a major inquiry. The investment is made "not with any pleasure", Treasurer Tim Nicholls said.
  • $96.3 million in operating expenses (OpEx) for "Queensland Government ICT services". This is a substantial cut on the previous year.
  • About $18 million in OpEx for CITEC and Queensland Shared Services. 

Expense items

Few big-ticket expenses were unveiled in the Budget.

The main ones are:

  • $3 million for a joint research project between with the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry and Queensland University of Technology around "robotics for agriculture".
  • $2 million over two years to "support upgrades and deployment of additional telehealth technologies to enhance and reconfigure the telehealth capability across major metropolitan and regional sites."

Only a percentage of the total allocations are to be spent this financial year.

Government ICT

The Department of Science, Information Technology, Innovation and the Arts will spend much of 2013-14 focused on strategy and "renewal" from an IT standpoint. (pdf)

One of its key focus areas is to "finalise the action plan and implement the recommendations from the audit of Queensland Government IT systems applications and support services".

There's also a focus on "red tape reduction", such as around ICT procurement and in progressing an open data initiative.

Few IT projects are actually slated for delivery in 2013-14, which would explain the lack of listings for the Department within the capital expenditure section of the Budget.

One of the few hitherto unmentioned investments falls within Queensland Shared Services, which is to "finalise the upgrade of the Aurion Version 9 HR/Payroll systems to a fully vendor supported Aurion Version 10 version" in 2013-14. No cost is revealed.

The cost of providing "Queensland Government ICT services" under the Department's auspices has been cut for 2013-14 to $96.3 million. In 2012-13 it came in at $122.3 million.

CITEC and Queensland Shared Services are together expected to cost the state a shade under $18 million.

Cops get CapEx

Queensland Police is one of several beneficiaries of the Government's 2013-14 capital expenditure for ICT, scoring $22.3 million to facilitate several new IT reforms following an extensive department-wide restructure earlier this year.

The service underwent a restructure in January that saw its Information and Communications Technology division renamed as the Information Technology Division (ITD). All IT functions have been centralised under the new banner.

The first technological reform since the restructure involves the introduction of a new rostering system designed to replace a "heavy reliance" on Microsoft Excel, an in-house I-TAS system and manual entry.

It is also planning a "mobile policing" policy to allow officers mobile access to internal IT systems in higher density areas after a review found the department lacking in that area.

Capital outlay

A full itemised list of capital outlays for 2013-14 is included below.

Health

  • $107.5 million for ICT equipment "to replace, upgrade and provide future capability to support the eHealth strategy, asset replacement program and the National Health Reform agenda."
  • $27.6 million for "the continued state wide roll out of eHealth clinical and administrative support systems including: an integrated electronic Medical Record (ieMR) and delivering systems for results reporting, order entry, medications management, clinical notes and discharge summaries."

Services/Infrastructure

  • $35.9 million to Stanwell Corporation for various ICT projects. The amount includes $27 million for "other capital projects", $6.7 million for hardware and software upgrades and $368,000 for communications systems.
  • $11.6 million for IT at the Department of Transport and Main Roads.
  • $11 million in ongoing funds for an automatic train protection system rollout at Queensland Rail.
  • $8.2 million for Ergon Energy's continuing control centre upgrade project, which covers a SCADA system. The whole project is worth $36.8 million.
  • $7.5 million in ongoing funding for an enterprise asset management system rollout at Queensland Rail. To date, $8 million of a total $32.6 million has been spent.
  • $7.3 million for continuation of a $10.5 million core client system replacement at the Residential Tenancies Authority.
  • $6.8 million for computer hardware and software upgrades at financial assistance administrator, QRAA.
  • $4.8 million "to support the Public Safety Network, which delivers a secure fixed data network to the QPS, the Department of Justice and Attorney-General and the Department of Community Safety".
  • $4.18 million for computer hardware and software for the Queensland Bulk Water Supply Authority.
  • $3.8 million for information systems at CS Energy.
  • $3.7 million for "other departmental info systems development" at the Department of Community Safety.
  • $3.4 million for the last piece of a "telecommunications backbone network strategy" at Queensland Rail.
  • $2.4 million for the remainder of the Integrated Client Management System (ICMS) within Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services. About $75.5m has already been spent to date.
  • $1.86 million for continued development of BUILD software at the Queensland Building Services Authority.
  • $1.824 million for software and hardware at Energex.
  • $1.63 million for "internally developed software systems" at CITEC.
  • $1.6 million to fund a "strategy to upgrade business systems on an ongoing basis" at the Public Trust Office.
  • $1.6 million for the "ongoing replacement of a claims and policy management system" at Nominal Defendant.
  • $1.45 million to the Electoral Commission of QLD " to continue the replacement of obsolete legacy systems and the Commission's ongoing plant and equipment replacement program. The legacy systems are used for election management activities such as non-voter and electoral roll scanning as well as providing electoral data to other government agencies such as the Jury system".
  • $1.22 million for the Queensland Wide Integrated Courts (QWIC) system, being driven out of the Department of Justice and Attorney-General.
  • $536,000 for software development and hardware expenses at Sunwater.

Police and Emergency Services

  • $14.5 million to fund an "ongoing technology refresh and improvement program" within Queensland Police.
  • $9 million for operational and communications equipment at the Queensland Ambulance Service.
  • $8.4 million for operational and communications equipment at Queensland Fire and Rescue Service.
  • $4.5 million for information systems development at the Queensland Ambulance Service.
  • $2.9 million for information systems development at Queensland Fire and Rescue Service.
  • $2.6 million for "Communications Centre updates" at Queensland Fire and Rescue Service.
  • $265,000 for information systems development at Emergency Management Queensland.

Mining

  • $3.8 million for the "Streamlining the Mining Tenure Approval Process project. This new technology platform is expected to help reduce application processing times" in the Department of Natural Resources and Mining.
  • $3.4 million for a Department of Natural Resources and Mining project to modify and enhance the Automatic Titling System "including development and implementation of a new software platform."

Education

  • $2.5 million for "the upgrade, improvement and development in ICT systems and technology to ensure service delivery and provide reporting and operational efficiencies across" Gold Coast TAFE. Future funding of $1.6m is expected post 2013-14.
  • $1.07 million for ongoing funding of a student data capture system for the Queensland Studies Authority. To date, $144,000 has been spent of a total $1.79 million cost.
  • $1.04 million for ICT projects at Southbank Institute of Technology.
  • $1.04 million for "ICT equipment replacement" at the Library Board of Queensland.

 

Other

  • $1 million to the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection for "system development and enhancements to information technology such as the Queensland Waste Data System".
  • $651,000 for implementation of a bluebox eDRMS (TRIM) system at the Commission for Children and Young People and Child Guardian. About $702,000 of a total $1.35m has been spent to date.
  • $500,000 for a data cabling upgrade in the Legislative Assembly of Queensland.
  • $482,000 for "information systems development and replacement" within Premier and Cabinet.
  • $440,000 for Legal Aid Queensland to complete work on a grants management system modernisation project.
  • $432,000 for the Public Trust Office's hardware expenses.
  • $349,000 for software development at the Commission for Children and Young People and Child Guardian.
  • $180,000 for "IT business systems" at Legal Aid Queensland.
  • $150,000 for an ongoing control systems upgrade at Mount Isa Water Board.
  • $98,000 for information systems at the Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and Multicultural Affairs.
  • $50,000 for computer equipment at the Office of the Ombudsman.

Additional reporting by Allie Coyne

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