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Monthly Archives: June 2015

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Tram Wreck: What myki Can Teach Us About Big, Expensive IT Projects

 

The Victorian Auditor General’s Office (VAGO) has just tabled a report into the ‘Operational Effectiveness of the myki Ticketing System’. For those of you who are Melburnians or who have visited Melbourne, you will know how much this ticketing system is despised. Even more than Collingwood. Myki was meant to make public transport travel so much easier in Melbourne and the State of Victoria. But it hasn’t turned out that way. The reason myki is so hated my Melburnians is that it is a big, expensive IT project that has gone horribly wrong, yet our Government in their wisdom decides we should live with it despite its many shortcomings and having the opportunity to use a cheaper alternative. Unfortunately, this is a global phenomenon: in the UK there is the NHS computer system and in the US there is healthcare.gov. Some consultants have claimed that 75% of IT projects fail. Why do so many big, expensive IT projects fail to deliver? What can the sorry, sordid tale of myki tell us about why IT projects fail? And what can we learn from it?

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The Economic Case for Reducing Indigenous Disadvantage in Australia

In Australia, the Australian Football League celebrated the contribution of Indigenous Australians to the game. This year’s ‘Indigenous round’ will be remembered for Adam Goodes’ war dance after kicking a goal. It was also reconciliation week, that is the week where Indigenous people were counted in the census and the historic Mabo decision that recognised Native Title. Yet, despite the mainstream acceptance that the past treatment of Indigenous Australians was shameful, there was little discussion that Indigenous Australians are still living with the effects of European colonisation. Indigenous Australians have a 10 years shorter life expectancy than non-Indigenous Australians; they make up 26% of the prison population in 2008 whilst making up 2.5% of total Australian population in 2006; 17% were unemployed in 2011 compared to 3.6% of non-Indigenous population; and Indigenous people account for 9% of homelessness. These social, health and economic indicators have budgetary consequences for both Federal and State governments. While there exists a strong moral case to reduce Indigenous disadvantage, there is also a very strong economic case for Australian governments: reducing Indigenous disadvantage could save both Federal and State governments $450,000per person over their lifetime.

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