The EDS bid for the Federal Government's Cluster 3 outsourcing business could pose an interesting challenge to Finance Minister John Fahey's asserted commitment to local industry.
That's because EDS has reportedly chosen to ignore government guidelines and tender Dell PCs rather than Australian products in its bid for the Cluster 3 outsourcing contract, the first Cluster released under the Federal Government's whole-of-government outsourcing program.
If the move is true it apparently flies in the face of pronouncements by Fahey that bids from multinationals for government outsourcing business would be favourably received only if they involved partnerships with Australian small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
Fahey's credibility is already in question after the only local consortium to bid for the Cluster 3 contract - the Canberra Regional Consortium - was knocked out of the running without even making the shortlist.
The consortium comprises mainframe services supplier CSPM, desktop specialist Praxa, Optus and a number of smaller players. Fujitsu, partnering with Optima, EDS and CSC Australia partnering Ipex are competing for the contract, which is due to be let next month.
The Cluster 3 contract, for supply of hardware, software and services for four Government agencies, is estimated to be worth about $200 million over five years.
Meanwhile, the government has formally notified industry it is preparing RFT documentation for its second contract under the whole-of-government IT outsourcing program, covering the Department of Employment, Education, Training and Youth Affairs (DEETYA), and Employment National (EN).
The RFT will cover provision of IT services to DEETYA and EN for the next five to nine years.