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Thousands of government laptops, mobiles missing
Thousands of government laptops, mobiles missing

Thousands of laptop computers and mobile phones have been lost or damaged by State Government agencies in less than two years.

Almost 900 Education Department laptops have been damaged, stolen or lost. Six hundred Department of Child Protection mobile phones are also among the losses.

Premier Colin Barnett said the level of loss was unacceptable and was an example of how the Government could improve the efficiency of agencies without harming frontline services.

In all, more than 3330 laptop computers and mobile phones were lost to the public service between July 2010 and last month, answers to questions in Parliament revealed.

The Education Department reported 347 notebook laptops were stolen in the period and another 542 were damaged.

At the Department of Child Protection, 563 mobile phones became damaged or faulty. Thieves stole 63 phones from police and officers damaged a further 107.

Other agencies with high reports of mobile phone damage, loss and theft included the Water Corporation (346), Corrective Services (284), Health (151) and Environment and Conservation (122).

The answers to shadow information technology spokesman Andrew Waddell also revealed the Government rolled out almost 2400 iPads to public agencies despite the Department of Premier and Cabinet deciding in April not to make iPads standard issue for MPs.

Mr Waddell said the losses showed the Government did not heed a recent Auditor-General's warning to make communications technology more secure.

"It does make you wonder about the material that is leaking into people's hands that we don't want it to leak into," Mr Waddell said.

An Education Department spokesman said the number of notebook computers stolen represented 0.6 per cent of the 60,000 distributed during the period.

"The department has policies in place to minimise the risk of notebook computers being stolen," he said. "For example, if staff need to leave them in their cars, they are told to lock them in the boot."

A Department of Environment and Conservation spokesman said some losses were due to conditions employees operated in, including bushfires and marine operations.