The state government has outlined a plan to rein in IT spending, which currently exceeds $1 billion, on the back of Treasurer Mike Nahan’s pledge to make the public sector leaner.
As part of a push to find major savings and efficiencies across all departments, which have separate IT systems, a $25 million fund will be created by July.
The fund will be used to pay for reform programs aimed at improving procurement practices, reducing duplication and coordinating Information Communication Technology (ICT) across all of the state’s agencies.
In its mid-year review in December, the government announced it would save $110 million by 2017-18 by implementing a 15 per cent annual reduction in ICT expenditure from January for its largest ICT spending agencies.
The $25 million fund will be funded by these savings and the government expects the strategy will generate a net saving of $85 million.
Finance Minister Bill Marmion will oversee the ICT reform.
To carry out the new strategy, which is expected to be developed over 12 months, Mr Marmion will create a new position, hiring someone to become the state’s first government chief information officer.
At a Business News Success and Leadership event last month, Dr Nahan flagged the loss of 1,500 public sector jobs this year due to a lack of options to try and balance the budget, which has been hit hard by an ailing iron ore price.
This will bring the total of cut government positions over this financial year and last to 3,000.
Premier Colin Barnett said reforming the state’s ICT was necessary following a lack of coordination.
“The delivery of ICT services in government has not always been as efficient and effective as it might have been,” he said.
“ICT reform will drive innovation, improve the way we deliver services to the community and deliver better value for the taxpayer.”