The SA government has sunk an extra $1.4 million into its second attempt at a concessions payment system, prompting the opposition to question whether it risks repeating the “poo sandwich” CASIS project that it cancelled last year.
CASIS - or the concession and seniors information system - was a payments engine started in 2008, and subsequently dumped in 2015 after coming in 120 percent over budget at $7.1 million. The government was forced to revert back to its legacy CARTS concessions and rebate tracking system.
Last month the government told iTnews it was still “in discussions” with systems integrator aC3 over disputed project fees for CASIS.
After being pushed back to square one, the SA government last July announced work would begin on a new concessions register known as COLIN, which it said would cost $2.2 million.
However, the Department of Communities and Social Inclusion has already been forced to scale this estimate up to $3.6 million in order to “achieve greater automation”.
“We initially allocated $2.2 million to build COLIN and then a business case identified a range of options of how the COLIN system would operate and how to achieve greater automation," Communities Minister Zoe Bettison told budget estimates last week.
“After considering these options, it was decided to invest an extra $1.4 million in COLIN to achieve a fully automated business technology platform to administer the [cost of living concession]."
She refuted suggestions from Liberal MP Duncan McFetridge that the project was on track to become the second version of the "poo sandwich" CASIS project.
The minister insisted the COLIN project remained on schedule despite the cash top-up, and claimed her government had learnt its lessions from the CASIS bungle.
“The build of COLIN is different,” she said.
“It is utilising new, low-risk technologies that are available and widely used.
“Rather than all components commencing at once, the success of each stage will determine moving on to the next stage. The contracts are based on a fixed price basis to contain the costs and the fixed price purchasing of off-the-shelf components was not readily available when CASIS commenced.”