The Australia Internet Industry Association (AIIA) has thrown its weight behind the Victorian Government’s decision to restructure its eServices panel by the end of October this year.
Under the restructure, companies represented on the panel are eligible to bid for contracts to provide ICT services to Victorian departments and agencies.
AIIA national chair, Philip Cronin, said the Victorian Government has shown commitment to listening to industry concerns and to working toward outcomes that will better benefit the state.
“The changes recognise the importance that ICT plays not only in the development of robust government, but in the development of an innovative and resilient economy,” Cronin said in a statement. “This will be very good for industry development in the State, and particularly for SMEs. The Victorian Government is to be commended.”
On 1 July this year, the panel was revised from 271 companies back to 188 out of a total of 600 applicants. The restructure will refresh the panel to provide local SMEs and industry with broader access to Government business opportunities.
“One of the most significant results of the current review will be the establishment of an industry / government working party charged with providing advice to the Victorian Government on the future approach and operation of the eServices panel,” AIIA Victorian Branch chair, Russell Yardley, said in a statement.
Unsuccessful companies in the previous round of applications will be able to maintain their existing applications or submit revised bids for consideration. The process will also be open to any company who had not previously applied.
Exemptions to the current eServices Panel are possible and any exemptions granted will be published to improve transparency. Statistics on the usage of the Panel will also be made publicly available on a regular basis.
“Transparency in the development and implementation of procurement processes is one of the most important principles in the development of good public policy,” Yardley said.
“This depends on high levels of engagement between industry and government as processes are designed. We have achieved that in Victoria, and I believe that we will see continued development of a vibrant local industry that will serve as the foundation for very strong ICT leadership in Victoria.”
The previous panel had been in place since 2003 but changes that came in into effect on 1 July targeted inner government departments and ‘streamlined’ the terms and conditions of contracts.
The changes were criticised by Victoria’s shadow Minister for ICT, Adem Somyurek, who said companies were provided only two days notice of the changes, which resulted in the removal of 75 per cent of companies.
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