Taxpayers to foot bill for $239m tech blowout
QUEENSLAND taxpayers could have to bankroll an IT blowout totalling almost a quarter of a billion dollars, with many of the State Government's digital projects predicted to balloon over budget.
The budgets of 55 projects across 11 departments and agencies are expected to blow out by $239,744,613.
Queensland Health's revised costs were the largest, ballooning by $82.7 million, while Housing and Public Works followed with $65.4 million.
The figures, which were uploaded to the State Government's publicly available ICT dashboard during November and December, have been slammed by the Opposition.
Deputy Leader Tim Mander said Labor did not have the "bandwidth" when it came to new IT projects.
"The hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayers' money the Palaszczuk Government have wasted by mismanaging these projects would have helped fast-track a second M1 or put a dent in airconditioning every public school class room," he said.
"Many of these IT projects are now on life support with no end in sight to these cost blowouts. There is no guarantee that Labor's blowouts won't continue and more taxpayers' money is poured down the drain."
The IT projects range from Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital Wi-Fi to the Future of Property and Tenancy Systems, with the latter to balloon by $65.3 million alone.
Meanwhile, Queensland Health's revised costings come off the back of a damning Auditor-General report last month that revealed the rollout of its digital hospital program, ieMR, could cost an additional $256 million.
A Queensland Health spokeswoman said the Government was investing in 21st-century medicine that meant better health care to more patients.
"Returning to the past would come at the cost of patient care," she said.
"It is entirely normal and expected for large and complex ICT projects to have some cost and time variation between initial concept and planning and final implementation, which may not occur until years later.
"Final costs vary from the initial costs in part because costs increase over time and often hospitals decide to purchase more modules and equipment once they begin rolling out."
A Government spokesman said the scope of some projects, including those started by LNP, had changed over time so that they were "fit for purpose".
TOP 5 BLOWOUTS
The five largest projects in terms of budgetary blowouts, out of the 11 departments/agencies
Housing: Future of Property and Tenancy Systems $65,311,695
Child Safety: Child and Family Services Information and Communication Technology Program $27,140,000
Transport: Vessel Traffic Services $21,003,490
Health: Modernised Managed Operating Environment Statewide Migration $24,641,697
Treasury: State Penalties Enforcement Registry Program $14,950,000