That said, the Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) has welcomed the Victorian Government's intention to reform its eServices Panel. The panel is a list of companies that may bid for state government ICT services contracts.
Although the panel currently includes 188 companies (reduced from 271, effective on the first of this month), Gordon Rich-Phillips, the Minister for Technology, said there was a need for a broader panel to meet the government's requirements.
"Companies will have another opportunity to secure a place on the panel, which will result in greater choice and competition for departments as well as improved access for more small and medium enterprises to government business opportunities," he said.
AIIA national chair Philip Cronin (who is also Intel's general manager for Australia and New Zealand, according to the AIIA web site), said "AIIA has worked closely with every sector of the ICT industry affected by the recent review of the eServices panel."
Other changes proposed - see page 2.
AIIA Victorian branch chair Russell Yardley (chairman of a private investment company; perhaps best known for his former roles at Acumen People & Productivity and Acumen Multimedia/Acumentum) said "This is a good outcome from industry and government. Minister Rich-Phillips is to be congratulated on bringing a sensible approach to the table with the aim of balancing the best interests of government and industry."
A ministerial spokesperson said an industry-government working party will be established to provide advice to the government on the future approach and operation of the eServices Panel.
"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," said Mr Yardley. "AIIA will be working very closely with the Government to ensure to best possible outcomes for the State."
The government also proposes to make the eServices Panel exemption process more streamlined and transparent. "The Victorian Government aims to increase transparency of usage of the eServices Panel, and develop a process whereby exemptions will not be unreasonably withheld, including publishing regular reports on the Victorian Government Purchasing Board website," Mr Rich-Phillips said.
Mr Cronin added "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. This will be very good for industry development in the State, and particularly for SMEs. The Victorian Government is to be commended."