[LINK] ACS and AIIA dispute govt IT spending
Wed, 14 Nov 2001 10:05:37 +1100
ACS and AIIA dispute govt IT spending
By Pete Young
13 November 2001
Two major infotech interest groups are at loggerheads over how much the
Federal Government is buying from Australian-owned technology companies.
The Australian Computer Society and the Australian Information Industry
Association are miles apart in their assessments of the figure.
ACS president John Ridge believes local suppliers currently capture as
little as five per cent of total Federal Government purchasing on
information and communications technology (ICT) goods and services.
AIIA executive director Rod Durie labels that estimate 'unbelievable' and
claims it is nearer 20 per cent.
Both organisations are part of the ICT Alliance, a loose coalition of
interests, which attempted to present a more effective industry front to
political parties during the election campaign. Their diverging views on
locally-oriented spending highlights the difficulties of creating a unified
Officially, about 10 per cent of Federal purchasing on ICT is being
captured by local companies and the objective is to raise that to 20 per
cent. However, reality lags well behind whatever target figures are
adopted, Ridge claims "I reckon if we are getting 5 per cent locally, it
would be amazing. The target needs to be higher in order to approach the
levels that need to happen."
Outsourcing of government services to a provider sector dominated by
multinationals is not helping the equation, according to Ridge. "If you
outsource your ICT to a US-headquartered company, where are they going to
source their product from? It defies logic that they won't go overseas for
it unless [local sourcing] is written into the contract and monitored
The AIIA believes that "probably 20 per cent and maybe more" of Federal
Government ICT spending is already going to Australian-owned SMEs. "And in
the outsourcing contracts area, we think more like 25 per cent is going to
Australian-owned companies," Durie said. To argue that Australian SMEs are
getting 10 per cent or less of the Federal Government purchasing action is
"a joke", he says.
Both groups agree government purchases account for about 40 per cent of
overall spending on ICT goods and services in Australia. The AIIA also
agrees that whatever the amount captured by Australian-owned companies, "we
ought to be doing everything short of government regulation to grow that
number," Durie says.
For example, it must be made cheaper and easier for small business to sell
into the government market. That would include ending commercially
untenable government contractual practices such as the imposition of
A few honest men are better than numbers
-- Oliver Cromwell, 1846