Readers of Crikey may recall a number of contributions (packaged on the site here) in March this year on Telstra
and its superannuation fund, Telstra Super. These ended with a rebuttal in early
April by Telstra Super’s CEO, Terry McCredden. So what’s been happening since
then?

Well apart from the well publicised arrival of Telstra’s new CEO
and all that encompasses with the upcoming T3 sale of Telstra, the
problems inside Telstra Super with their new computer system have
continued. The first group of members went on to the new system early
last month. This is four years after the project commenced in July 2001
and still leaves the bulk of the members to be transferred. The
celebrations were short lived when it was found that the new system was
calculating incorrect member accounts and issuing incorrect online
member statements. Apparently there were other “acceptable” teething
problems.

All this leaves the April Crikey response from the Telstra Super
CEO, Terry McCredden, appearing to be somewhat “incomplete.”
McCredden’s comment that “an active quality assurance program has been
in place to ensure members’ records will not be compromised in any way”
has not been borne out in practice. In April, McCredden also commented
that “the project has not incurred a budget overrun of $2 million
dollars and indeed the contract with Financial Synergy is a fixed price
contract.” Within weeks of this comment there was a multi-million
dollar increase in budget.

In the Crikey response McCredden also denied that there had been two recent
departures from the project. This was a surprise to the two staff involved. One
was the project 2IC and the other a senior tester contracted in from another
department to help with testing. It is common knowledge in the industry that
both are now employed by the same organisation. The staff changes will not
finish there. It will take a large number of staff retrenchments to justify the
ever increasing cost of this project. The two year project will now take close
to five years to complete and is reputed to be over budget by at least $2.5 million
if the costs allocated to operating budgets are fully taken into account.

If the
Telstra Super Board doesn’t start to take some action soon, perhaps the new Telstra
CEO, well known for his focus on cost savings, will be prompted to ask some
questions.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

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