Govt procurement models up for debate

Australia's most prominent government CIOs and IT ministers will add their expertise to an open panel debate on the most critical issues facing the IT industry later this month.

NSW Special Minister of State and Commerce Minister John Della Bosca will chair the discussion panel at the South East Asian Regional Computer Confederation 2005 Conference (SEARCC 2005), in Sydney, from September 28 to 30, 2005.

He will be joined by the South Australian Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Energy Patrick Conlon and Tasmanian Minister for Economic Development Lara Giddings.

Dubbed the most important IT event of the decade, the Ministers will also be joined by Australia's most prominent CIOs including Paul Edgecumbe of the NSW government and Jane Treadwell, Victorian government CIO.

Gartner vice president Richard Harris said the current priorities for government are interoperability and procurement.

"The government has largely been doing catch-up in regards to looking into industry best practice," he said.

"There is a lot of smoke and mirrors around whole of government contracting; there needs to be more transparency."

Edward Mandla, president of the Australian Computer Society - another SEARRC participant - said the most pressing issues the government panel needs to cover are those surrounding whole of government procurement models.

Mandla said the Australian IT industry needs to know what "whole of government procurement" actually means.

"I think governments have a leading role to play in industry; look at the way they have embraced e-commerce and often are miles ahead in the public sector," he said.

"I know Della Bosca is keen to up his involvement in IT and Giddings is IT-orientated so there will be some really switched-on people at this event." The other government trend that needs clarifying is shared services, a trend which the Western Australian government has embraced as part of its recent cross-government deal, worth more than $65 million, with Oracle.

Mandla said the feedback, based on extensive discussions, is that "government shared-services agreements will be dumped for interoperability; apparently whole of government models have not saved money and actually stifled innovation."

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