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QLD Budget: Health prospers again

by Michael Read •
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Queensland’s Treasurer Tim Nicholls has handed down the State’s 2014-15 Budget and, once again, the largest ICT allocations are for Queensland Health.

The two previous Budgets were both austere from an ICT funding perspective. However, only following detailed analysis of the Budget papers will it be possible to establish where 2014-15 ICT funding sits in comparison to previous years.

Intermedium will be releasing its detailed list of 2014-15 funded ICT initiatives along with its estimates of ICT Operational Expenditure in its Budget IT online database as soon as possible.

However, the readily identifiable initiatives are listed below.

$199.8 million alone is to be spent on just two projects at Queensland Health:

  • $139.9 million will be invested in ICT equipment to support the Government’s eHealth strategy and asset replacement program; and
  • $59.9 million allocated to the continued state-wide rollout of eHealth clinical and administrative support systems, including the integrated electronic Medical Records (ieMR) and delivering systems for results reporting, medications management, order entry, clinical notes and discharge summaries.

The bulk of new ICT expenditure in last year’s Budget was consumed by the ongoing remediation of the Queensland Health payroll system. Queensland Health was allocated an additional $384.3 million over four years in the 2013-14 Budget toward operation, maintenance and enhancements to the troubled initiative.

The project received no further funding in the 2014-15 but Queensland Health was once again the largest beneficiary of ICT funding in the Budget, with the document describing investment in information and health technology as a “focus” for the coming year.

Energex, the State’s electricity provider, has been allocated $58.3 in 2014-15 for non-system capital programs, a portion of which is to be spent on ICT software and hardware.

The Queensland Police Service has been allocated $15.7 million for a range of ICT initiatives including mobile services, the Public Safety Network and the technology and communication equipment refreshment program.

The Department of Transport and Main Roads is forecast to finalise the implementation of a new Enterprise Asset Management System in 2014-15 with a final investment of $11.1 million. Expenditure on the project has already cost the agency $46.4 million.

The Residential Tenancies Authority has been allocated $10.6 million in 2014-15 as part of the agency’s ongoing upgrade of its ageing systems.

The Department of Natural Resources and Mines will be investing $5.5 million in 2014-15 for the Zillmere Core Library Extension Initiative for the construction of additional core storage near the existing Exploration Data Centre, along with $5.8 million to be spent on systems development in the upcoming financial year.

Queensland Treasury and Trade will be spending $5.5 million on the development and implementation of new system capability to support debt recovery by the State Penalties Enforcement Registry.

CS Energy has been allocated $2.9 million for corporate capital costs, which the Budget states is primarily for ICT projects.

The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry have been allocated $2.1 million for the development of a new Biosecurity Information Management System to enhance the Department’s service delivery capacity.

2014-15 is shaping up to be a year of multiple small projects spread throughout the State’s various agencies. Some of the notable smaller initiatives include:

  • The Queensland Building and Construction Commission has been allocated $1.9 million in 2014-15 to replace ageing IT systems;
  • The Queensland Police Service has been allocated $1 million in funding to meet its ICT requirements for the G20 meetings in Cairns and Brisbane later in the year;
  • The Department of Energy and Water Supply has been allocated $2 million to be invested in the finalisation of the work associated with the Water Industry Asset Management System;
  • The Library Board of Queensland has been allocated $1.7 million in funding to replace its current IT equipment, along with other capital purchases;
  • The Public Trust Office has been given $2 million as part of its ongoing business systems upgrade;
  • The Justice Service has been allocated $1.1 million in 2014-15 for enhancements to the Queensland Wide Integrated Courts (QWIC) system

In the 2013-14 Budget, Intermedium identified $851.7 million in funding for both new and existing ICT initiatives, $501.0 million of which was to be spent in that financial year.

In his first Budget in September 2012, Treasurer Tim Nicholls forecast a $652 million fiscal surplus in 2014-15. The 2013-14 Budget pushed the surplus target back to 2015-16. This year’s Budget has retained the 2015-16 surplus target despite a deterioration in the 2014-15 fiscal projection from a deficit of $244 million (as forecast in last year’s Budget) to $2.27 billion.

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