30/10/2008 - 09:39

Costly govt OSS project to go ahead

30/10/2008 - 09:39

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Treasurer Troy Buswell has approved a continuation of the costly Office of Shared Services project but has placed it on notice that remaining implementation and budget targets must be strictly adhered to.

Costly govt OSS project to go ahead

Treasurer Troy Buswell has approved a continuation of the costly Office of Shared Services project but has placed it on notice that remaining implementation and budget targets must be strictly adhered to.

Mr Buswell today released for public scrutiny an independent report by Quadrant Group on the problem-fraught program, saying he was committed to lifting the previous veil of secrecy and to expose the mismanagement of the project that had occurred under its architects, the former Labor Government.

The Treasurer said that the shared corporate services reform stood as one of the most significant examples of the incompetence of the previous government.

He has demanded monthly budget and progress reports for the project as a condition of its not being dramatically downgraded or scrapped.

Commenced in 2003, at a promised cost of $91 million and completion by December 2006, the project was never properly managed by the then Labor government which allowed the cost to escalate to $198 million by the scheduled completion date. This was then extended another year.

By December 2007, the budget was confirmed to have blown out further to a massive $435 million with project completion put back yet again until 2013.

Mr Buswell said he had given serious consideration to calling a halt to the project in its current form and either reducing the number of agencies participating or changing its scope to exclude the use of the Oracle human resources and payroll component - introducing a hybrid HR/payroll system that could deliver proper results.

However, given the State had already sunk $202 million into the project and that the independent report indicated it was making reasonable progress, Mr Buswell said he was prepared to give qualified support to the program in its current form.

Mr Buswell said he noted the report's identification of ongoing risks associated with it and he was determined to monitor the situation very carefully.

He has also asked for a detailed report following the planned roll-in of the Main Roads Department into the financial stream of the Shared Services project during the next few months.

The Main Roads participation would be an important check point for the project and provide an opportunity for a detailed evaluation of its capacity to deliver.

"This project has a sorry history which this government does not want to see repeated. I am committed therefore to providing aggressive oversight of it from this point forward," the Treasurer said.

"I will most certainly not allow the situation to re-emerge where a high-spending, lazy Government failed to manage its affairs and effectively cost the WA taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars in the process."

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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