Jay Weatherill’s first State Budget as Treasurer and Premier may well be remembered more for its saving than its spending.
Only time will tell how the State’s already cash-strapped ICT landscape will be affected by yesterday’s announcement that the one per cent efficiency dividend on agencies will be extended by an extra year to the end of 2016-17, and that annual capital expenditure allocations will be cut by 10 per cent over the forward estimates, in an effort to save a combined $192 million for SA.
At least one project has already bitten the dust. Budget Papers reveal that the Star Chase pursuit management system trialled by the SA Police has been deemed “not appropriate for SAPOL’s requirements”, and as a result will not be implemented. The decision will return $450,000 to the Government purse.
Brand new ICT funding was also thin on the ground.
The South Australian emergency services will benefit from an additional $2.9 million in capital funding and $3.5 million in operational funding for the upgrade of the Computer Aided Dispatch system used by the SA Police, Metropolitan Fire Service, Country Fire Service, State Emergency Services and the SA Ambulance Service. The project, worth $22.8 million in total, is being rolled out by the Attorney-General’s Department and is due for completion in mid-2015.
Another $3.7 million will go towards setting up the ICT required for the State’s new Independent Commissioner Against Corruption and Office for Public Integrity to commence operations later this year.
However the State’s ICT industry need not despair just yet, as strong ongoing funding committed in previous years will continue to flow through into the market, especially in the health space.
The 2013-14 financial year will see the expenditure of more than $56 million from the Department for Health and Ageing’s major eHealth program. This includes $26.2 million to continue the roll out for the Enterprise Patient Administration System (EPAS), which is expected to cost a total of $408 million over ten years to 2021, including funding from the Commonwealth.
The Department of Health and Ageing also received an unspecified boost in funding to finish its enterprise-wide deployment of Oracle-based procurement and supply chain systems. The roll-out was partially completed in 2010 at a cost of $22 million but is expected to cost $40.5 million in full.
Other major projects still underway in South Australia include:
- The replacement of the Taxation Revenue Management System (RISTEC) operated by the Department of Treasury and Finance, at a full cost of $33.2 million to the end of 2014;
- The implementation of an integrated financial management system for SA Government schools at a total cost of $35 million over 2014-15 and 2015-16, as announced in the mid-year budget update (the SA Education Department has confirmed that this initiative is on hold until the implications of Commonwealth education reforms are fully understood); and
- The consolidation of the Government’s central data network and implementation of a new core network by the Department of Premier and Cabinet, at a total cost of $17.6 million to mid-2015.
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