When the Budget 2016 was revealed, it was clear that the over-60s were not a big part of the discussion and consideration – except when they needed to put a$ 500,000 cap into our super funds, stop us from holding more than $1.6 million in tax-free super accounts and stop us from accessing all of our money before we retire.
Now, the #censusfail has blown open the fact that the government has poured a unbelievable amount of funding into things that could have been channeled to support over-60s.
Remember that August 9th online census that scared many with its $180 per day fines? The Australian Bureau of Statistics reportedly paid IBM $9.6 million to host the failed online census.
If you think that is a massive spend, wait until you hear how much the government contracts with IBM are worth – $2.4 billion.
And how much of the government superannuation benefits was slashed from last year’s (2015) budget? $2.6b or 39% was reduced to make the 2016 budget happen.
The Federal Government has 132 contracts with IBM, with some of the biggest deals being a $510 million contract with the Department of Immigration and Border Protection and two deals with the Department of Defence worth $311 million and $264 million a piece.
Further to the federal government deals, IBM Australia also has $86 million in Victorian government contracts and $357 million in New South Wales Government contracts, reports the Courier Mail.
The only state where IBM is struggling to make a buck when it comes to lucrative government contracts is Queensland where the government has held firm on its ban on IBM contracts issued by former premier Campbell Newman in 2013 after the inquiry into the $1.25 billion health department payroll exposed thousands of Queensland Health employees were underpaid, overpaid or not paid.
We filled in the @ABSCensus tonight online – v easy to do. And so important for planning better Govt services & investment for the future
— Malcolm Turnbull (@TurnbullMalcolm) August 9, 2016
Will the Federal Government would follow the Queensland Government’s lead in banning IBM from future contacts, if the computer giant was to be blamed for management of the census servers?
“Which heads roll where and when will be determined once the review is complete,” Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said.
Many over-60s have expressed their dissatisfaction on the government’s spending priorities, arguing that the misallocated funds could have been channeled to support the Australians who have helped to build the nation – the over-60s.
Tamara Mackay said, “I feel that we older Australians deserve more. This census failure has proven to me that the government would rather feed and help large corporations rather than its own people.”
She added, “I went to the Australian Government website to look at the benefits and I was appalled, come on, they can do better than show us where the toilet is!”
IBM Australia did not respond to media questions about the census but it released a statement on Thursday evening saying: “We genuinely regret the inconvenience that has occurred.”
Well, unfortunately that was a $9.6 million “inconvenience”.