[LINK] Govt to push on with IT program - Fahey
Sun, 14 Jan 2001 10:55:43 +1100
These have been typed in, apologies for any errors
IT Outsourcing changes hailed by business
Local industry predicts glut of new contracts
A bonanza of new contracts could be showered on Canberra's information
technology industry as a result of changes to the Federal Government's
$5billion IT outsourcing program.
Local business leaders are still examining the implications of Federal
Government IT outsourcing after Finance Minister John Fahey embraced
calls by the head of the Stock Exchange, Richard Humphry, for IT
outsourcing decisions to be stripped from the Office of Asset Sales
and IT outsourcing.
Individual agency heads would now decide their own needs and which
firms should handle the work.
Mr Fahey told the Canberra Sunday Times yesterday that local
enterprises stood to gain substantially from the change. The
three-year federal outsourcing program had already assisted the
industry to its present healthy state.
"The biggest single factor has been Government outsourcing policies to
date," Mr Fahey said. "It is fair to say companies should continue to
have benefits that weren't there in the past."
Mr Fahey dismissed as a "cheap shot" a call for his resignation by the
Opposition spokeswoman on IT, Canberra Senator Kate Lundy, who said
the Government's IT outsourcing was in a "woeful mess".
Senator Lundy said the failure of the Government's strategy was "good
news" that had significant and crucial implications for Canberra.
Most Canberra IT firms had been denied access to the valuable
contracts going to multinationals under federal outsourcing policies
but few complained for fear of being blacklisted.
"I have been demanding they have the opportunity to tender on an equal
footing, and it has been a long campaign," Senator Lundy said.
The chairman of the ACT Information Industry Development Board, Brand
Hoff, said the freeing up of the tender process was overdue. "It will
be in smaller chunks and ACT and other Australian firms will have the
chance to bid for business," Mr Hoff said. "I certainly think it is a
great opportunity for Canberra companies at the moment."
The industry had 840 firms providing more than 5000 jobs, or up to 8
per cent of the workforce, with and annual income approaching $1
Mr Hoff said small to medium-size firms had been forced to rely on
"out-of-scope" work, smaller, one-off contracts not attached to major
programs. "The door will open now," he said.
It was "very good news" for Canberra, said the chief executive of the
ACT Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Christopher Peters. "Until now,
the Commonwealth has been clustering its IT outsourcing into large
contracts so that only very large companies - most of them
multi-nationals - have been large enough to tender for the
businesses," he said. "This has cut out local business from the
tendering process. The Commonwealth has required successful tenders to
use small to medium enterprises for a certain percentage of the total
work. However, in most cases this has been for simple processing
tasks, or "grunt" work, and local businesses have been denied access
to commercial useful development opportunities and intellectual
The proposed changes would result in smaller, more selective, tenders
being called and this would encourage local businesses to tender for
the work. "I see this as a huge benefit for the Canberra business
community," he said.
ALP wants blood for IT "folly"
Fiance Minister John Fahey should resign or be sacked after a backdown
on handing over all government computing and information technology
work to private industry, Labor said yesterday.
Mr Fahey has agreed to give individual department heads and agencies
control over the timing and tender process for IT outsourcing, phasing
out the current overseer Office of Asset Sales and IT Outsourcing
An overhaul of the program, which is three times over budget and two
years behind schedule, was recommended in an independent review by
Australian Stock Exchange director, David (sic) Humphry
Opposition IT spokeswoman Kate Lundy said using OASITO had run counter
to laws making agency and departmental heads responsible for carrying
"After the Humphry review’s recommendation for the immediate end of
the process and the removal of the Department of Finance from any
implementation role, no-one can doubt that the result of the Fahey
Folly has been a disaster" she said. "The Government’s agreement to
implement Humphry’s recommendations proves that the jig is now up for
Minister Fahey and he should do the decent thing and resign."
Contracts for employment agency Centrelink, the National Library and
Treasury have been put on hold to allow agency heads to consider
whether outsourcing is the right approach.
Mr Fahey said on Friday that the report backed his position that
outsourcing could provide significant savings to departments, and
vowed o proceed with the policy.
As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly.
-- Proverbs ch. 26, v. 11