Australian businesses will be given a level e-commerce playing field to compete on for government contracts and business-to-business trade, according to a new framework announced by the Australian Procurement and Construction Council (APCC).
With input from federal, state and territory governments, the APCC's Framework for the National Cooperation on Electronic Commerce in Government Procurement is looking at the most efficient methods for businesses to trade with government agencies and each other in an open, consistent and cooperative approach, said a statement released by the APCC.
"This significant national initiative, a world first, will support businesses, large and small, as they trade directly with governments and with each other, in a consistent, secure and low-cost electronic environment," said Mike Board, chair of the Australian Procurement and Construction Ministerial Council.
Adopting common international e-commerce standards, the framework is slated to assist businesses develop an Internet presence when trading with the government while streamlining transactions across states and territories.
Noting a growing role for SMEs in government contracting, Board claims the framework will provide opportunities for SMEs to trade with the government on a comparable basis.
"Importantly, the implementation of the national framework will provide local and regional small-to-medium enterprises with the ability to compete more effectively for government business and in new markets," said Board.
The Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) has endorsed the initiative.
"The APCC framework on electronic commerce, that we are endorsing, is an important step for the industry," said Peter Upton, AIIA executive director. "Not only does it provide a clear set of standards for the industry to work within, but also puts government organisations in a leadership role to drive the future of electronic business in Australia."
However, Upton claims that while this framework is a "great start", there is much more to be done.