Page 1550 - Week 05 - Thursday, 11 May 2006

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Question so resolved in the negative.

Amendments negatived.

Debate interrupted in accordance with standing order 74 and the resumption of the debate made an order of the day for a later hour.

Sitting suspended from 12.30 to 2.30 pm.

Questions without notice

Public service—Oracle financial system

MR SMYTH: My question is directed to the Chief Minister and Treasurer. On 18 April you announced that all shared services, including finance, would be located within Treasury. The following day you admitted that the task of bringing together human resources systems in the ACT was “somewhat easier” because the ACT has a “single finance system”. Indeed, Oracle is the central financial software used by the ACT government.

However, on 27 April you said that there are now in place 10 versions of the Oracle platform. By implication, you suggested that Oracle is no longer providing the functionality required by the government. What is the status of the Oracle financial system? Is it the government’s intention to replace Oracle with a new financial system?

MR STANHOPE: The point I was making about Oracle—as an example or explanation of some of the issues that might be resolved in creating a shared services centre for a jurisdiction as small and compact as the ACT and our public service—was that one might have hoped, expected or anticipated that Oracle, at its genesis, would have provided a single, unified, same service across agencies. Indeed, in large measure, it has done that.

Of course, in a decentralised, perhaps silo, administrative structure, each organisation will, from time to time, for its own purposes—in relation to upgrades, software and day-to-day usage—make changes. Different upgrades take slightly different directions or turns. In relation to Oracle, we discover—at the outset one would have anticipated that a single service system across a public service or administration the size of ours would remain the same—that that has not happened.

It is essentially the same service working appropriately but amended, changed, from time to time as a result of or as a response to different managers, a different view of the world or slightly different requirements across agencies. It has lost that unique capacity; it is not now precisely the same service that it was at its initiation.

I use it as an example of what happens in a decentralised system, which creates inefficiencies and which creates a system or a service that does not provide the economies that a shared services arrangement would provide. We will bring it back into a centralised, shared services corporate arrangement where the particular changes that currently exist will be melded into a single system. But it is working.

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