Page 4699 - Week 14 - Thursday, 24 November 2005

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Mr Hargreaves: The answer to the member’s question is as follows:

(1) The technical difficulties appear to have derived from application server software changes made in the weeks prior to experiencing the problems. While the changes were fully tested in the development environment, problems did not emerge until the system was under full production transaction loads.

An additional specialist resource was brought in, from the firm that developed the original system, to assist in diagnosing causes of the problem. The system team was then able to put a solution in place, test it, and deploy a new system version, so that shopfront use of the system could resume.

(2) All road transport services were affected, such as driver licensing, motor vehicle registration services and traffic infringement payments.

(3) All five Government Shopfronts were affected.

(4) 9,754 road transport transactions at ACT Government shop fronts were affected during the period 26 to 30 September 2005.

(5) The Concierge at each shopfront informed customers that the motor transport computer system was not operating, and that we were not sure when full service would resume. Some transactions were able to processed manually but customers were advised they may wish to return when full operations resumed.

(6) Although shopfront staff were able to process registration and driver licence renewals manually, it was not possible to provide customers with vehicle registration labels or photographic licences. Instead customers were issued with a receipt showing the new registration or licence expiry date. The AFP were advised of the system problems so their members would be able to exercise discretion when dealing with a motorist who had paid for registration or a licence but was not issued a registration label or photographic licence.

(7) The five full day period, 26 to 30 September 2005.

(8) In recent months there have been sporadic instances of instability and slow performance, and instances of relatively brief outage of the RegoACT system. There appear to have been different causes for different incidents. In each instance, the particular fault has been detected and remedied. I have been advised that the specific problem during the week in question is not a recurrence of a specific previous cause, however, it may in a general sense relate to residual coding issues associated with implementation of new application server software.

(9) A moratorium has been placed on any further changes to functionality of the RegoACT system, until additional diagnosis has been completed, to ensure minimal risk of any ongoing instability, and to allow the hardware platforms to be upgraded. The introduction of new servers will enhance business continuity capabilities for shopfronts, with a degree of replication of production capabilities for the RegoACT system between multiple centres.

An independent review of the system has also been commissioned to evaluate risks, examine current maintenance/support capabilities, and provide advice on any necessary changes.

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