Intermedium’s analysis of the South Australian Budget 2010-11, handed down by State Treasurer Kevin Foley on Thursday 16 September, uncovered little new funding for ICT projects in 2010-11, in line with major cuts to government spending.
In his Budget Speech to the South Australian Parliament, Foley outlined the Government’s ambition to return the budget to surplus and the methods by which it plans to achieve this.
“Achieving a sustainable net operating position is a key priority of the 2010-11 Budget and that will be achieved by meeting a new series of savings measures,” Mr Foley said.
The SA Government expects that the Budget measures will generate $1.5 billion in expenditure savings.
The SA capital budget allocation for 2010-11 is $3.6 billion, of which Intermedium was able to identify $118 million in funding for ICT projects (ICT Cap Ex).
However, of the $118 million ICT allocation, new monies account for only $9.4 million. Furthermore, of the 39 ICT projects slated for 2010-11 only seven are new projects.
The proportion of funding allocated to new projects is broadly in line with other states, with both Queensland and Victoria allocating new projects less than 10% of their total ICT Cap Ex funding.
New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria made ICT Cap Ex allocations of $882 million, $475 million and $343 million respectively.
NSW had the highest allocation of funding to new ICT Cap Ex projects at $225.5 million, followed by Queensland at $35.3 million and Victoria at $11.6 million.
The Justice portfolio was the biggest recipient of new funding in the SA Budget with three projects starting in 2010-11:
- $1.0 million for an IT system to support SA Police domestic violence prevention programs;
- $4.7 million for an upgrade of SA Police’s crime fighting equipment including the purchase of hand-held computers for fingerprint data collation; and
- An additional $420,000 for new vehicle registration software.
Other winners included the Families and Communities Portfolio with two separate allocations of $751,000 and $660,000 for new client and case management systems, and the Environment Protection Authority, which received $1.5 million for upgrades to its licensing system.
Despite the rollout of e-health initiatives across the country, the Budget Papers reveal only one project planned for the Health Porftolio, a $2.09 million allocation for upgrade of Country Health Services software, hardware and interfaces.
Support for existing pograms includes:
- $43.4 million in this financial year for an upgrade of SA Government radio network;
- $14.4 million to cover implementation costs for the Taxation Revenue Management System;
- $9.4 million for replacement of the emergency response management and dispatch systems used by SA Fire and Emergency Services Commission, SA Police and SA Ambulance Service;
- $5.29 million for a new ICT system to support the Department of Transport, Energy and Infrastructure’s Land Services Business Reform; and
- $3.55 million for acquisition of a records management system for SA Police.
The Budget has been much anticipated in South Australia since it was postponed due to the election in March of this year. Conventionally state budgets are handed down mid-year.
SA Shadow Treasurer Iain Evans has criticised the Government for the length of time taken to deliver the budget.
“The Tasmanian Government, which was re-elected on exactly the same day as the Rann/Foley Government, delivered its budget on the 17th June- three months earlier than this Government.
“The new Conservative Government in Britain delivered a $1.2 trillion budget within 50 days of taking office after 13 years in Opposition.
“Why is it that after eight years of the Rann Labor Government, Treasurer Foley needs 180 days after an election to deliver just a $15 billion budget?,” Mr Evans said in a statement posted on the Opposition Leader Isobel Redmond’s website.