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EYE-BALL Opinion on – The QLD Health Payroll debacle …

The QLD Health Payroll debacle …
6th June 2012.
In the QLD Parliament today – Health Minister Mr Springborg let loose over the KPMG report into the ongoing Health Services payroll dispute. This dispute first gained mention in 2010 and the problems are still impacting on employees.  Mr Springborg introduced information that it was now going to cost $1.2 billion to fix the problem.  The full ABC report appears below:

Qld Health payroll debacle to cost $1.2b

| By Matt Wordsworth | Posted June 06, 2012 19:12:10 | Link to ABC story on-line |

An independent review has found it will cost at least $1.25 billion to fix Queensland Health’s failed payroll system..

Presenting the review in State Parliament, Health Minister Lawrence Springborg said it will take seven years to fix.

“Madam Speaker, at last we approach the bottom of the murky pool,” he said.

“This was a rogue contractual arrangement, untended by Labor that engulfed the valued workforce of Queensland Health.”

It has been 27 months since the payroll system went live and Mr Springborg says it is still spitting out problems.

About 4 per cent of Queensland Health’s 85,000 staff are getting overpaid each fortnight.

It leaves payroll staff performing 200,000 manual entries each pay period to rectify problems.

“Even today, this fragile system cannot calculate the basic leave entitlements of the workers it was installed to serve,” Mr Springborg said.

KPMG, which conducted the review, says there are a number of reasons the system failed so badly when it was switched on in March 2010.

Firstly, it had not even undergone a full parallel pay run comparison.

The technical infrastructure also failed, staff were not familiar with the process and no-one anticipated bottlenecks in the system.

Previously each district did their payrolls.

“Today, I thank KPMG but so much more, Madam Speaker, remains hidden. I challenge the Opposition to help find the answers,” Mr Springborg said.

“What possessed Labor, Madam Speaker, to follow such a path? What reasons were cited?

“What relationships lay behind them and what else is locked away in Labor’s secret cabinet papers?”

Overpaid wages

One of the most touchy jobs remains for Mr Springborg – recouping the overpaid wages.

There is $91 million outstanding, or about $1,000 for every worker.

Labor put a moratorium on recovery but KPMG says that is costing the state $1.7 million every fortnight and it is about to be lifted.

Queensland Nurses Union secretary Beth Mohle says that is just the first step.

“The critical issue for our members is that of course some of them do not know whether they’ve been overpaid because they haven’t got any confidence in the information that’s been provided,” she said.

“And of course our advice has been from day one, that no member should be making any repayment of overpayments until all underpayments have been corrected and that they are satisfied that an overpayment has indeed been incurred.

“So there’s a fair way to go yet until we work through all these issues.”

The union wants individual case workers for each employee who has been overpaid – something else in this scandal that has not been budgeted for.

There is much blame here – the Health Minister at the time was Mr Lucas – he was switched from the Health portfolio shortly after the payroll dispute began.  He made a decision not to contest the QLD election earlier this year.  With the revelations in Parliament today – we now know why.

With this type of incompetence now fully disclosed – and it is not just the Minister at the time – he would have had several advisors who played their role – and with such a debacle as a result someone has to ask the questions – did someone get a ‘big-drink’ to purchase the payroll system.

$1.2 billion to fix a payroll system – it would be cheaper to let the employees keep the money and sue the payroll software company for the damages.   This is what happens when ‘monkeys’ want to lead and play at being smarter than they actually are.


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