Minister welcomes Parliamentary apology to Queensland Health workers

Published Thursday, 08 August, 2013 at 02:24 PM

Minister for Health
The Honourable Lawrence Springborg

Three years after the chaos and personal cost of the Labor-IBM health payroll fiasco, Queensland Health employees will receive a written apology – endorsed by State Parliament.

Health Minister Lawrence Springborg, who proposed the apology in a Parliamentary debate today, thanked MPs for their support.

“Unfortunately, this won’t reverse the loss of up to 1,500 jobs caused by the large unfunded shortfall in payroll support funds left by the former Labor Government,” Mr Springborg said.

“It won’t reverse the anguish of nurses and other health workers who were left by the former Government to rely on handouts and charity. But now this written apology will be conveyed to up to 80,000 Queensland health workers.

“These include many left without pay for weeks on end at the height of the 2010 payroll crisis.”

Mr Springborg said the decision followed the release of the findings of the Chesterman Commission of Inquiry earlier this week. 

“I will move quickly to ensure the wishes of the Parliament are complied with,” he said.

Mr Springborg said the payroll crisis began on March 14, 2010, when a dysfunctional IBM payroll system with 2,422 known defects was implemented by the former Government. As the system failed, nurses, doctors and health workers were left underpaid, overpaid or not paid at all.

“Three years later, repairs and administrative changes by the Newman Government have stabilised its operation, but each fortnight more than 800 workers are still required to ensure Queensland Health staff are paid,” he said.

“The ongoing cost of repairs and manual support for the health payroll system will be a burden on Queensland Health services until 2017.”

Mr Springborg condemned the Labor Opposition for failing to provide support for the apology in Parliament.

“After its initial incompetence and neglect, this is just one more Labor insult for Queensland Health workers,” he said.

The text of the motion passed by Parliament follows:

That this House:

1.      Notes the Report of the Queensland Health Payroll System Commission of Inquiry;

2.      Notes that the Report names a number of former Labor Government Ministers;

3.      Notes that the Report names a number of current and former Public Servants, and supports the Public Service Commission taking appropriate action to hold responsible officers to account;

4.      Censures IBM as contributing to the Queensland Health payroll debacle and endorses the Government’s intention to exclude it from further Government contracts until such time as it can demonstrate improved accountability;

5.      Condemns the former Labor Government for its lack of judgement and accountability;

6.      Formally apologises on behalf of the previous Government, former Premier Anna Bligh and members of her Cabinet to all Queenslanders who were disadvantaged or adversely affected by the Labor Government’s failure in the management and implementation of the Queensland Health payroll system, which is set to cost Queensland taxpayers in excess of $1.2 billion; and

7.      Calls on the Minister for Health to convey this apology to every existing Queensland Health employee

[ENDS] 8 August 2013

Media contact: Cameron Thompson 0407 585 230