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Home-grown vendors battle for slice of Qld public pie

Home-grown vendors battle for slice of Qld public pie

A series of meetings between ICT industry heavyweights and the Queensland government is well under way as local companies battle it out to secure a bigger slice of the public sector procurement pie.

Responding to pressure from industry opposed to the state government's use of multinational IT vendors rather than home-grown talent, Queensland Premier Peter Beattie was forced to announce a state-wide review of ICT procurement.

As part of the review, a working group was formed and is chaired by the Minister for Public Works and Housing Rob Schwarten.

The working group held its first meeting earlier this month with a second meeting planned in the coming week.

ICT delegate and chair of a state industry group Software Queensland, Dr Paul Campbell said the results of the first meeting were surprising.

He said he was surprised at the ICT community's poor level of presenting their message to the Queensland government, and how obvious the "different frames of reference" were between the two groups.

Campbell said the initial meeting went extremely well in terms of highlighting their key concerns.

"It is amazing what a bad job we had done in the past when it came to trying to get our message across; the first meeting really highlighted the dichotomy of views," he said.

"There were no disagreements, but an opportunity to hear both sides from a different angle.

"The second meeting is where we will present supporting arguments; in preparation we have pulled together the most comprehensive document on government procurement in Australia."

Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) CEO Rob Durie said the government needs to undertake a restructure so departments are not "tripping over each in terms of both procurement and the use of ICT in government".

"The key issue is that the present structure for ICT procurement in the Queensland government is fragmented - for instance you have the Public Works responsible for procurement and the Queensalnd Treasury running shared services," Durie said.

"There is an industry feeling in Queensland that they [the government] could be better structured and coordinated."

Many local vendors anxiously await the outcome of the government's procurement review to see if any preferences will be given to local industry, a move that would be a first by any state government across Australia.

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