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Vic Government's ICT strategy to save state $400m

Victoria's assistant treasurer Gordon Rich-Phillips says the technology shake-up will improve resources for all while reducing risk of project costs blowing out

The Victorian Government is looking to shave hundreds of millions off its technology expenditure with an ambitious overhaul of its technology resources and services strategy across all agencies.

The Australian Financial Review reports the Victorian Government is eyeing $400m in savings in two years under its proposed shake-up of its tech strategy, which was released by assistant treasurer and Minister for Technology Gordon Rich-Phillips on 12 February.

Under the 50-point, whole-of-government plan, departments will be forced to review which services should be maintained in-house and those that should be outsourced, as well as weigh up public-private partnerships for larger projects.

A register has also been mooted to improve transparency of government departments running the same systems and encourage the reuse of infrastructure. This is expected to save up to 15 per cent of the state’s annual $1.5bn technology spend by the end of 2014 or $400m over two years. In addition, an improved supplier register could aid small to medium enterprises in winning more contracts with government.

Rich-Phillips said the strategy will reduce the future costs for major projects getting out of control such as the e-health initiative HealthSMART, the myki public transport ticketing system and upgrades to Victoria Police’s core criminal database as examples. The new strategy will set the agenda, provide clearer guidelines on accountability while improving services for all, he claimed.

“The Coalition Government is taking advantage of advances in technology to deliver services more efficiently and to connect Victorians, particularly those living in areas of regional Victoria,” Rich-Phillips said. “We also recognise government expenditure on ICT needs to be managed better by establishing a balance of innovation and risk and a focus on higher productivity and better services.”

In the preface to the strategy report, Rich-Phillips and Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu admitted Victoria had suffered high-profile and expensive ICT project failures, but were also adamant a large number of government systems deliver value and services to the state. The strategy will optimise their use and management.

The Government expects to have reviewed and implemented the new ICT governance and organisational structures by March, and commenced regular reporting on ICT progress from October. A Victorian Public Services ICT capability framework will be released in December.

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More about: Australian Financial Review, Australian Financial Review, Technology
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