[LINK] Labor pressured to release review into school computers

Bernard Robertson-Dunn brd at iimetro.com.au
Thu Oct 23 09:19:54 EST 2008


On 22/02/2008 at 10:05 AM Bernard Robertson-Dunn wrote, in response to 
Tom Worthington:
> A word of warning here, based upon my experience in IT outsourcing. 
> Most of the cost is in addition to the initial hardware costs of the 
> individual machines. Without knowing your proposed network, server, 
> support and funding model (ie you have to assume that these things 
> will get replaced at end of life) it is not possible to come up with 
> very accurate numbers. However, I would suggest you start with a 
> minimum total system cost of five to ten times the cost of the initial 
> user hardware.
> There is also the issue of optimising whole of system costs against 
> minimising desktop/laptop costs. A desktop/laptop machine that is at 
> the top of the range might end up in the whole system being cheaper in 
> the long run.
> False economies and bad assumptions abound in the IT world. 
They are getting closer. Their current estimate is four times initial 
user hardware.

I'm starting to understand how Cassandra felt.

Labor pressured to release review into school computers
Julian Drape
October 22, 2008
The Australian

THE opposition has demanded the government release a report outlining 
the commonwealth's estimates for the on-costs of Labor's much-maligned 
computers-in-schools program.

A Senate estimates hearing has heard Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and 
Education Minister Julia Gillard have received the report estimating the 
total cost of the program, but the government is refusing to release it.

"Clearly this is a cover-up," Queensland Liberal senator Brett Mason 
told the hearing. "Finally they (the estimates) have been done but they 
can't be provided."

The education department's digital education group manager Evan Arthur 
says the review was commissioned by the Department of Prime Minister and 
Cabinet following the mid-year budget estimates.

The Department of Finance and Deregulation report was finalised on 
September 3 and presented to Mr Rudd and Ms Gillard, along with 
Treasurer Wayne Swan and Finance Minister Lindsay Tanner.

"It considers the costs associated with the implementation of the 
national secondary schools computer fund," Dr Arthur told the hearing.

When Senator Mason asked if the committee could see the report, Dr 
Arthur said: "It's in the nature of advice to government at this stage 
and the government is currently considering that advice."

Labor senator Kim Carr, representing the education minister, said the 
government would take Senator Mason's request on notice.

"I have to discuss the matter with the minister," he said.

Questions on notice have to be dealt with by the committee by November 28.

It was no surprise the opposition pushed for the commonwealth estimates 
at today's hearing. It has continually attacked Labor over its digital 
education revolution, arguing states and territories are being left to 
pay the additional computer operating costs.

Senator Mason said there was a $1.3 billion shortfall in federal funding.

"We've got all the states, we've got the secondary school teachers and 
the private sector all saying the ratio is one-to-four (capital costs to 
operating costs)," he told the hearing. "The total cost therefore of 
this program will be $2.5 billion and the commonwealth has budgeted $1.2 

Senator Carr said the question of on-going costs was subject to 
negotiations between the commonwealth and the states and territories 
through the COAG process. "There's been a review established to assist 
in the verification of the claims that are being made about the amount 
of money in on-costs that's required."


Bernard Robertson-Dunn
Canberra Australia
brd at iimetro.com.au

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