Thursday, March 11, 2010

Government IT Contracts for Small Australian Companies

Senator Kate Lundy (ACT) and Senator Kim Carr (Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research) announced a Supplier Advocate to Champion IT on 3 March 2010. So far there have been "Supplier Advocates" appointed for rail and steel.

Recently I was asked about support for small business by an ACT Government committee on procurement. I suggested the ACT government should use the same standards and, preferably the same tender system as the Commonwealth. Also simpler tender documents and less onerous insurance conditions were required. Perhaps the ACT government can work with the new advocate on a joint approach to help small ICT businesses.

Australia’s $98 billion IT industry is set to benefit, with an IT Supplier Advocate to be appointed to help secure more major IT contracts.

The IT Supplier Advocate is part of the Rudd Government’s $8.2 million Supplier Advocate Program, which appoints respected industry figures to provide leadership for targeted sectors. Advocates have already been appointed for rail and steel.

Announced by Innovation Minister, Senator Kim Carr, and Senator Kate Lundy, the IT Supplier Advocate will work as a broker and spokesperson, particularly for small to medium enterprises (SMEs) in the information technology sector.

We want Australian IT firms, particularly SMEs, to have the best chance of getting in the game and the best chance of winning.

It is vital that government has access to the nimble, innovative capacity of IT small businesses and equally, they have access to government.

The IT Supplier Advocate will help small businesses access contracts that may not have been on their radar.

The advocate will also work to ease the often unfounded concerns of risk that may be associated with awarding work to small business.

NICTA’s Australian eGovernment Technology Cluster has offered to work with an IT Supplier Advocate to provide services and facilities to help SMEs field test and prove the scalability of their IT solutions to prospective customers.

The Government canvassed the views of many stakeholders in the Australian IT sector about appointing an advocate.

These consultations suggest that there are significant IT procurement opportunities in the government where the supplier advocate could make a difference.

The Government’s Information Technology Industry Innovation Council will provide advice on the appointment. An announcement on the advocate is expected by the end of March. ...

From: Supplier Advocate to Champion IT, Joint Media Release by Senator Kate Lundy and Senator Kim Carr (Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research) 3 March 2010

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