Health, Police win out in QLD 2011-12 Budget ICT spending

$61.2 million for the Queensland Department of Health to “replace, upgrade and provide future capability”

Despite being hit by severe floods and cyclones in the past year, the Queensland Government’s 2011-12 budget still includes a sizeable ICT spending for the coming year.

The budget includes two core areas of ICT spending — Health and Police — and a number of smaller ICT expenditures, such as the state’s Bulk Water Transport Authority and Department of Environment and Resource Management.

According to the budget documents, ICT funding for Queensland Health's capital works program was an important input into the delivery of health services and goals in the government’s Toward Q2: Tomorrow's Queensland strategy.

“In 2011-12, Queensland Health will continue its capital investment across a broad range of health infrastructure including community health centres, hospitals, health technology, pathology, research and scientific services, mental health services, residential care, staff accommodation, and information and communication technologies,” the budget reads.

The budget allocates some $61.2 million for the department to invest in information and communication technology equipment to “replace, upgrade and provide future capability”.

According to the budget, the Queensland Police Service (QPS) capital program for 2011-12 will be $227.3 million and will fund infrastructure activities including capital works, information technology and other essential equipment to support the QPS.

Of this funding, $51.1 million will be spent on a range of information and communication technology initiatives including a new computer-aided dispatch system, a technology refresh, and a digital integrated traffic camera system.

The Queensland Government’s primary ICT service provider, CITEC, will receive a capital expenditure program of $22.7 million to carry out the consolidation of data centres, networks and infrastructure services across the state government.

CITEC will also carry out the implementation of a whole-of-government email system with identity management and authentication capability, digital certificate issuing capability and the acquisition of ICT infrastructure.

Additional ICT expenditures include:

  • $5 million from the total investment of $10.7 million over three years, for Streamlining the Mining Tenure Approval Process. This new technology platform is expected to help reduce application processing times.

  • $3.8 million to build the required information technology systems, as well as the provision of infrastructure to local government, for the state’s Waste Reform agenda.

  • $8.2 million for minor works at SunWater including information technology software and hardware.

  • $6.4 million for enhancements to information technology systems at the Queensland Bulk Water Transport Authority.

  • $61 million for ambulance facilities, operational equipment and information and communications technology (ICT) improvements.

  • $164.9 million for the capital program at the Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation aimed at supporting the continuing economic development of the state's industries, developing and reinvesting in research facilities, and enhancing service delivery through the development of new information communication technology platforms.

Cuts in ICT projects in the 2011-12 budget due to the floods were flagged at the beginning of the year, with the office of the Queensland minister for information and communication technology.

“Given the flood crisis in Queensland, each department will be reviewing its future work program so it is likely there will be changes to some projects across government, including those related to ICT,” a spokesperson for the Minister for Public Works and Information and Communication Technology, Robert Schwarten, told Computerworld Australia in January.

“It is likely to be some weeks before the Department of Public Works is aware of agency decisions.”

Follow Tim Lohman on Twitter: @Tlohman

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