Page 2154 - Week 06 - Thursday, 26 June 2008
error of judgement and understanding exhibited by the Liberal Party’s opposition to the Shared Services Centre at the outset—it is worth reflecting on that as we agree to this continuing appropriation for shared services.
MR MULCAHY (Molonglo) (9.37): I did touch on the issue of the Shared Services Centre in my speech on the Assembly Secretariat and their transfer of financial functions to the centre, but I will take this opportunity to speak in a little bit more detail about the ongoing progress of the Shared Services Centre and the initiative in the current budget to increase its funding.
I have voiced my scepticism about the government’s Shared Services Centre since it was introduced in the 2006-07 budget and this is in large part because the empirical record of these things is not terribly good. Other states that have established shared services centres have had poor experiences, with large cost blow-outs and serious administrative problems, and we certainly should try and learn from the experiences of other jurisdictions rather than be quick to dismiss them and assume that they can never happen here.
There is certainly some prospect that the ACT may be able to avoid some of these problems. We have quite a few natural advantages compared with other states. In particular, the ACT benefits from being a small jurisdiction comprised of a single city. This means that there is greater scope for centralising facilities of this kind without long travelling times to the various other government agencies in which they are needed. However, the natural administrative advantages enjoyed by the ACT do not mean that we can dismiss the problems experienced by other jurisdictions. We must remain on guard for blow-outs in costs and any administrative problems which arise.
There are signs in this budget that the government is experiencing problems of its own with the Shared Services Centre and that cost blow-outs are indeed occurring. Despite the government’s repeated assurances of the savings that will allegedly be made by the Shared Services Centre, it has now been forced to allocate $10.4 million in new expenditure initiatives to establish new operational teams and new staffing positions and to attract new recruits. This is not a good sign and such a large increase in expenditure may not bode well for the savings to be made from the centre.
In relation to one other area, three years after the implementation date for the Chris21 system on 1 July 2005, issues surrounding problems with this system have still not been resolved. In fact, the Auditor-General recently reported her findings on the system, including identifying several outstanding problems. These problems were identified despite the Auditor-General’s finding that the record management for the project was inadequate and did not support ready access to material for the audit. In summarising her findings in a media release on the report the Auditor-General stated:
… some aspects of the system did not function as intended, and to date, some core functionalities are not yet operational and other contracted deliverables have not been fully implemented.
The Auditor-General also stated:
In addition to some core functionalities not yet operational, the project has not delivered the intended benefits of a new generation HR system to support