Queensland Premier Campbell Newman.
Queensland Premier Campbell Newman. John Pryke

Newman may call for inquiry into health payroll debacle

THE Queensland Government has refused to speculate on whether they might take legal action against the IT giant behind the health payroll debacle.

But Premier Campbell Newman told Queensland Parliament on Thursday he might still call an inquiry into the matter, which took an important step on Wednesday when the Opposition released secret Cabinet documents that are usually kept confidential for 20 years.

"Why do they not want this government, but more importantly the people of Queensland, to see what has happened so that the problems can be fixed, so that if possible we can seek damages from guilty parties?" he said over why their release had taken so long.

"I agree with the Health Minister's comments yesterday that we will examine these documents.

"There might still need to be some sort of inquiry into the issue, because it is not all apparent what has gone on."

Health Minister Lawrence Springborg said he had contacted the Crown Solicitor who advised him not to speculate on the 850-odd pages released.

"From today the Solicitor-General will spend whatever time is necessary to properly assess this material and advise the government on its options," he said.

"If an inquiry is required, then obviously that would happen.

"Our goal is to recover any worthwhile part of those lost funds from any source.

"Only when the Labor leader was finally cornered did she surrender the cabinet record of the failed payroll contract."This is not the end of the battle for public access to this information.

"It is the start of the public campaign to properly understand what happened, and the fight - however late - for redress will continue."

The legal advice in the documents tabled in parliament detail the dispute between IBM and the Labor government after they activated the payroll system in 2010, resulting in employees being overpaid, underpaid and, in some cases, not paid at all.

The failure has cost hundreds of million of dollars to fix and the LNP has blamed it for some of its job cuts.


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