$50,000 fine for school payroll faults 'not enough'

TOM PULLAR-STRECKER
Last updated 10:13 25/11/2012

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Australian company Talent2 faces a maximum penalty of $50,000 each time its Novopay payroll system botches teachers' fortnightly payroll cycle, according to a source with connections to the company.

That would mean only about 10 per cent of Talent2's total earnings from its contract with the Education Ministry would be at risk, despite widespread dissatisfaction with Novopay among schools which say Talent2 has been responsible for thousands of pay errors.

One school administrator said the fine was "not enough".

The Education Ministry would not confirm the size of the penalties, saying they were confidential. Spokesman Matt Radley reiterated that Talent2's contract to build and run Novopay was worth $100.5 million over eight years.

Talent2 chief executive John Rawlinson indicated last week Talent2 expected to be penalised for Novopay's performance, but hoped the company would be cut some slack given big information technology systems often had a "settling-in period".

Labour communications spokeswoman Clare Curran said she hoped Novopay would be a "wake- up call" to government departments negotiating such contracts with suppliers.

"The wider question is the culpability of the ministry itself to deliver pay effectively to teachers and I have got a concern that any mistakes get blamed on public servants rather than the minister.

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