Queensland to revamp 'clunker' payroll systems

State government says existing systems cost too much and vulnerable to hackers.

Seeking to save money and increase cybersecurity, the Queensland government plans to replace eight payroll systems with one outsourced system, said Information Minister Ros Bates.

The initiative will combine eight payroll systems under Bates’s Department of Science, IT, Arts and Innovation. The department said they include:

  • Arts Queensland
  • CITEC
  • Office of the Queensland Scientist
  • Queensland Shared Services
  • Queensland State Archives
  • Smart Service Queensland

A Queensland Health payroll system that went live on 8 March 2010 incorrectly overpaid thousands of health workers and is estimated to cost the Queensland government $1.2 billion to repair. The department said the new consolidation effort does not include Health.

The department wants a “non-complex, straight-forward system designed for 9 to 5, Monday to Friday workers,” it said. The government plans to issue tenders “in the coming months,” and all the government tenders will have a small and medium-sized enterprise component, it said. By outsourcing, the new system will promote the Queensland economy, Bates said.

“It’s ridiculous that one department has eight standalone payroll systems that don’t talk to each other,” said Bates, a member of the Liberal National Party who has blamed the state’s IT problems on the previous Labor government. The existing systems do not have up-to-date software and “have all been heavily customised to keep them going, making them expensive to run and vulnerable to hackers, the department said.

“Our current systems are akin to driving a 1972 Ford clunker with the original tyres which has missed most of its services,” said Bates. “We are paying IT specialists exorbitant amounts of money to gaffer tape our system so we can pay our staff.”

Follow Adam Bender on Twitter: @WatchAdam

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