Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 8 Hansard (24 August) . . Page.. 2663..
DR FOSKEY (continuing):
knowledge will be retained whereby human resources staff will be aware of what goes on within individual agencies and will be able to answer questions about real-time problems without sounding like they work in an offshore call centre.
I urge the government to accept the estimates committee's recommendation that InTACT's user charges should be measured against private sector industry standards in order to justify or not the value for money of the current IT arrangements. Hopefully, the consolidation of IT expertise in the Shared Services Centre will not result in IT officers being withdrawn from various agencies. It is important to maintain on site IT experts who have knowledge and experience of the IT environments of individual agencies.
MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (4.37): I guess people are asked by their governments to trust them, and we need to go back and look at the government's record in delivering major projects to work out whether or not we should trust them. Since coming to office, the major reforms that this government has put in place have been the establishment of the emergency services authority, the hospital, the schools program in front of us, the Gungahlin Drive extension, the link building, the prison, the glassworks and CHRIS 21. If we look just at that small microcosm of activity, the current Stanhope government has failed to deliver reforms in each area. They all cost more, ran over time and budget and either delivered less service or have not yet come into being.
The emergency services authority was going to be bigger and better. It blew its budget twice in a row and had to go to the Treasurer's Advance for almost $5 million extra. The hospital reforms have cost us an enormous amount and are still not delivering. The schools reform, I suspect, will be the same. It will not save the sort of money the government thinks it is going to save and it really will not improve the system.
As we reported in the dissenting report, the cost of the Gungahlin Drive extension has continued to blow out. We understand it has blown out again recently with a dramatic underestimation of some numbers in the report, but we will get to that when we consider TAMS. The link building, which is being built outside this place even as we speak, was a project that we funded in 2001. Here we are in 2006. It is not completed yet and because of the delay it has cost a lot more than we estimated it would.
The same applies to the glassworks across the lake. The prison was going to cost $110 million. Now it is $128 million, but it will deliver less than was promised five years ago. CHRIS 21 is dealt with on page 45 of the committee's report, at paragraph 4.32. Having implemented this single piece of across-government software, the government found that it did not have the basic functionality to do rollovers of leave and long service leave at the end of the financial year, and that cost departments an extra $1.897 million. For the government to stand up here and ask us to appropriate money for shared services on the basis that the system will be more effective, will need fewer staff, will cost less money and is going to be better is just a joke.
Where did they steal the model? Mr Costello dusted off his Western Australian report. He changed "WA"to "ACT"and, lo and behold, shared services unit. This reform was meant to commence in Western Australia in 2003-03. Now, in 2006-07, have they saved a single cent? No. Have they lived within their budget? No. Did they lose staff to become more efficient? No. Did they actually have to employ more staff to implement a program that was doomed to failure from the start because these systems do not work? Yes. Are