South Australian budget targets IT savings

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South Australian budget targets IT savings

Opts against significant investment.

Jay Weatherill’s recently returned SA Labor Government will target $4.25 million in IT-based savings across the state, starting in 2015.

Budget papers reveal the whole-of-government cost-cutting program will set out to reduce the number of servers, desktop PCs and laptops across the public sector to achieve the efficiency dividend, which will escalate in value across the three years to 2017-18.

It will be helped by an estimated reduction in public sector staff of 4105 over the next four years, which will in turn reduce demand for desktop devices.

Public Sector Minister Susan Close told iTnews each agency would be assigned a portion of the total savings target.

“This will be achieved through the continued implementation of across-government procurements for distributed computing and client equipment," she said.

“As outlined in the South Australian Government’s ICT strategy SA Connected, multi-agency approaches to market will be encouraged in the future."

But her opposition counterpart, Rob Lucas, told iTnews he didn't have much faith that the efficiencies would be limited to IT.

“Too often these sorts of savings programs are only notional in terms of how they are achieved,” he said.

“Treasury will claim that the savings have come out of a particular area, such as IT, but through my experience on parliamentary committees we have been told that many agencies are actually more likely to make them happen through other means, like staff cuts and so on.”

The SA Government has allocated some money to IT for 2014-15 - most of which will be funds still unspent from the previous year.

More than $22 million in IT expenditure has been deferred to the next financial year and beyond, including $1.2 million for the Treasury’s new taxation revenue management system RISTEC, and $11.4 million for the Department of Health and Ageing’s new enterprise pathology laboratory information system (ELIPS).

Despite holding back funds from some areas of IT, the SA Government has been willing to open its wallet for the development of new mobile applications.

Around $1 million has been put aside for a crime tracking tool that will allow victims to keep up with investigations, while approximately $100,000 will go towards a smartphone app allowing users to dob in litterers by taking photos and sending them through to the Environmental Protection Authority.

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