Page 2641 - Week 09 - Tuesday, 11 August 2015

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According to the digital Canberra action plan, creating a digital Canberra is a priority for this government. However judging by recent revelations, many would be forgiven for believing the opposite. As we know all too well from this government there are many promises but very few actually come to fruition. It was promised that Canberra would host Australia’s largest free public wi-fi network. However, with continual delays in the rollout it seems we are still waiting for this promise to be delivered. Initially the rollout was to be completed by the end of this year. Now it seems it has been pushed back to mid-2016.

So far only Canberra city, Braddon, New Acton and EPIC have active external wi-fi transmitters. The town centres of Belconnen, Dickson, Kingston, Manuka, Tuggeranong, Gungahlin, Weston, Woden and Bruce are still all waiting to receive their promised full, free wireless network. The wi-fi rollout was to be completed one year after its launch in October 2014. At this point in time it is anticipated it will be completed nearly two years after the launch. But this government’s track record, who can really be sure? Who knows, by the time the 2016 election rolls around, it may become a re-announced election commitment.

It seems that the rollout schedule for Canberra public wi-fi is not the only issue in this portfolio that is masked by a cloud of uncertainty. In 2014 during estimates Mr Doszpot asked the Chief Minister when the $21.8 million iConnect platform would be delivered, and yet here we are again, more than a year later, still waiting for this government to deliver on its promises.

Shared Services ICT is another area where it is often difficult to be clear on the basic information, for example, the rationale given behind the allocation of $413,000 to undertake a feasibility study on network modernisation. The reasoning behind this allocation of money is, by way of response in the estimates hearing, to ensure that the modernisation program is done in the most cost-effective and efficient way possible. Obviously spending $413,000 on a study to outsource a project that has previously been adequately performed internally is viewed by this government as cost effective.

I now move on to discuss the role of Shared Services Human Resources and the investigation conducted by them into why a cage-like structure was erected to contain a child with autism in an ACT primary school. During the estimates process I asked for information regarding this investigation. The Chief Minister’s reply was less than reassuring. He was not even aware of which directorate was undertaking the investigation. This is an incident that made national and international headlines and the Chief Minister was obviously not across the investigation at all.

The situation has been badly managed from the start and here we are, more than five months after the incident, with Minister Burch’s assurances that the inquiry would be swift, and still nothing. When officers from Shared Services Human Resources were questioned during the estimates process they admitted that they had not been given a date to complete the work by. This was a matter that was described by Minister Burch as “a matter of urgency”.

It has now been several months since the incident was reported and it has become clear that Minister Burch has shown no leadership or authority on this matter. Even

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