Page 2155 - Week 06 - Thursday, 26 June 2008
recruitment, workforce planning, learning and development, organisational development, industrial reforms and health and safety initiatives.
This statement was not made shortly after the initial failures of the system; it was made just months ago. The Auditor-General found that the project board for the Chris21 system had regularly discussed risk abatement measures, that the action that they took on these risks was not sufficient to reduce the risks and that many of the identified risks in fact occurred during the project. In other words, some of the problems occurred even though they had been identified as potential risks by the project board.
The Auditor-General also found that poor communication between agencies and even within single agencies meant that agencies were not ready for the implementation date for the system. The Auditor-General also identified a cost of $1.9 million to work around the problems with the system by using manual calculation of leave, superannuation and termination entitlements that the system was supposed to provide. The future prospects of this system do not look good. In her media release on the report, the Auditor-General stated:
Implementation of some purchased Chris21 modules will be subject to further business case analysis and funding. Audit has not seen evidence of any planning or scheduled implementation of Phase 2 functionality to achieve the transformation of human resource management to a more strategic function, as intended.
These findings are a damning indictment of the new HR system and the efficiencies that were supposed to have been achieved. They are a small part of the ongoing saga of cost blow-outs and administrative problems that have plagued the shared service functions. I have spoken on numerous occasions in this place and the committee about my ongoing concern about the overpayment and underpayment of superannuation affecting thousands of people who have been employed by the territory, and still going on at some horrendous cost, without resolution—a matter that had some airing in the estimates process but about which we have heard nothing more since.
I do have concerns. It may be a pessimistic outlook that I am bringing to this discussion, but you cannot ignore what has happened in South Australia and Western Australia in terms of these shared services facilities. So you do have to have some measure of concern and I hope that the concerns are not borne out in the long term. When I raised concerns in relation to Rhodium in 2004, they were dismissed, and that turned into a disaster for this territory. I hope that the shared services experiment is rather more successful than has occurred in other states.
Two other matters have come up in the context of the debate. I may have been somewhat harsh when I referred to our forecasting as hopeless or hopeless but not as hopeless as other states. That is somewhat harsh on the officials. I am sure they do their best. My real concern is the methodology that seems to be applied in the forecasting; it just does not seem to be able to get it right. I am anxious that I not reflect on those many officials, a number of whom are sitting there burning the midnight oil in the lobbies of this place.