Tuesday 23 June 2009

Legislative Council
Estimates Committee B  (David Bartlett)

3.3  Management of TASINET and Networking Tasmania

Mr FINCH - Premier, I notice in the expenses by output that here we see the usual and, I believe, necessary cuts in the present economic climate, except for management of TASINET and Networking Tasmania and information systems management.  Could you comment on that? 

Mr BARTLETT - I will give you the ins and outs to start with.  There has been an increase in TASINET customers, both fixed and mobile, so more people have handsets.  There have been revised billing arrangements for Networking Tasmania, so some core services previously paid directly by customers to suppliers like Telstra, for example, are now paid to TMD and passed on to the supplier.  The introduction of TASINET to the Mersey Community Hospital has also accounted for some of the new fixed and mobile handsets. 

Ms BURTON - An important thing to remember with 3.3 and 3.4 is that they operate on a commercial basis so there is absolutely no consolidated funding that goes into these outputs.  It's about money that is effectively earned and then paid to Telstra and Optus for phones and data services.  So TMD operates off-budget on a commercial basis and recovers all expenditure incurred by invoicing agencies and organisations for the services it provides, so cost-cutting would have no impact on the Government's bottom line and that is why you don't see the same sorts of budget management strategies here that you see elsewhere in government.  In terms of the work it does, there will be an impact because, as you know, budget management strategies are dictating a reduction in communications expenditure and that will feed through to these outputs so you will see some reductions that will be forced on TMD to take account of the mobile phones that are handed in.  Mr Wing talked about two mobile phones and maybe not those two but other services will be discontinued, so there's a sort of down-the-line impact.  That's why this looks a little at odds with the other outputs you have seen today.