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Tight Tas budget sees minimal new ICT funding

by Poppy Johnston •
Free resource

Topics: ICT Strategy; IT Services; Software; Tas.

The Tasmanian Government’s focus on returning a surplus in the 2016-17 state budget will result in very little new funding for ICT initiatives over the next 12 months.

Handing down the budget on Thursday 26 May 2016, Tasmanian Treasurer Peter Gutwein cited “discipline and careful management of expenditures” as a key aspect of the state budget’s return to a $77 million operating surplus – the first in seven years. This focus on “budget repair” has resulted in a scarcity of new high-value ICT initiatives since the Liberal Government took office three years ago.

Modest funding for new initiatives

The Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment’s integrated fisheries licensing and management system is one of the only new ICT initiatives to receive funding in the Hodgman Government’s 2016-17 Budget.

Due to receive $1.2 million over the next two years, the new “Catch and Effort Module” will support the sustainable management of Tasmanian fisheries through improved systems for research, compliance, and management.

The government has also allocated the department $1.4 million over four years to replace the ageing Valuation and Information System of Tasmania (VISTAS). VISTAS is a centralised platform for accessing property valuations and other information related to property management.

The Department of Health and Human ServicesStrong Families, Safe Kids project will receive $550,000 for the immediate stabilisation of and upgrades to the Child Protection Information System. These upgrades will deliver a higher level of data integration than is currently available, including integration with the Kids Intelligence Data System.

The Department of Education will also receive $4.5 million over two years to implement changes from the proposed new Education Act. This funding supports a project implementation team that will oversee specific implementation changes, such as the development of a data system to track students across government and non-government schools.

Funding for continuing initiatives

All ongoing ICT projects will continue to receive funding in the 2016-17 Budget, including $8.6 million to continue the development of the Police, Fire and Emergency Management’s ESCAD system for Tasmania's emergency services, awarded to Fujitsu Australia in April 2016. An additional $2 million will be provided in 2017-18 to complete the project, bringing its total cost to $15.3 million.

The Department of Treasury and Finance will receive $2.5 million in the 2016-17 Budget for ongoing work on the state’s Budget Information Management System, which is now in its third and final stage, and expected to be completed in 2018. Treasury and Finance has also been allocated $718,000 for the “client view project” (payroll tax and duties) stage of the State Revenue System Replacement project.

The 2016-17 Budget will provide $1.9 million in new funding for the ongoing development of the Department of Justice’s iPlan development approvals system. Completion of the second stage of the ‘one-stop shop’ development approvals system will make it one of the most sophisticated of its kind in Australia, allowing home builders and developers to see what planning and building rules apply in real-time.

Education’s Students First funding and education reforms will receive $134 million over the scheduled six years in additional funding for schools, and will include ICT-related upgrades on a “basis of need”.

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