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NSW committing more ICT spend for SMEs

The NSW government has proposed procurement targets to boost government ICT spending on small to medium businesses. The New South Wales government is firmly committed to hand smaller players a slice of the IT procurement pie, following a review into the state’s spend on digital services. To be effective from April 1, the targets aim to see 30% of ICT procurement spend going directly to SMEs and 25% of all procurements over AU$ 3 million directed towards the SME sector as well.

The ICT and Digital Sovereign Procurement Taskforce which was set up last year have made these recommendations. The NSW government launched the taskforce to help small and medium ICT service vendors do business with the government.

Customer Service Minister, Victor Dominello, said the new ICT and digital sovereign procurement task force will establish a greater diversity of digital and ICT service providers and suppliers who engage with the state government.“It’s all about levelling the playing field and ensuring small and medium enterprises can compete on an equal footing.”

He confirmed that the NSW Government has committed $1.6 billion to transform government services and the investment is aimed at helping local small and medium enterprises and start-ups to grow, building critical sovereign capability for the future here in NSW.

According to Victor Dominello, the recommendations are an acknowledgment of the vital role SMEs can have in the state’s economic recovery from bushfires and the pandemic.

“NSW is the most digitally advanced jurisdiction in Australia, thanks in large part to the experience and expertise of our local ICT industry,” Victor said. “Demand for technology solutions is only going to increase and the tech workforce is only going to get bigger, and we want SMEs to remain at the forefront.”

The Taskforce was created to support

  1. enabling an increased number of government supply opportunities targeting small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and the potential for increased spend on SMEs. This will include indigenous suppliers, start-ups and disability suppliers.
  2. ensuring SMEs can compete on an equal footing in ICT and digital procurement activities.

Minister for Finance and Small Business Damien Tudehope is confident that these steps would open up more opportunities for small and medium businesses. “This is all about making it easier for SMEs in the ICT sector to do business with the government as well as supporting the economic conditions to ensure NSW remains at the cutting edge of innovation and technology.”

Other proposals are set to benefit start-ups, Aboriginal-owned, disability and regional enterprises. These initiatives are planned to be announced later in 2021. These additional plans will be implemented after the ICT/Digital Sovereign Procurement Taskforce hands down its findings.

The federal government has its own SME tech spend initiative, the Digital Marketplace, which to-date has seen 69% of contracts awarded to smaller players since its inception in August 2016. The Digital Marketplace is touted as a simple and fast way to buy and sell with the government.

In attempting to spread the AU$6.5 billion spent annually on IT by the Australian government, the marketplace aims to simplify the procurement process and make it easier for businesses of all sizes to access government contracts.

“It breaks down the barriers of entry for SMEs (a small to medium enterprise with less than 200 employees) and makes it easier to compete for the Australian government’s annual ICT spend,” the official line from the Digital Transformation Agency reads.

 

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