Complaints about a multi-million dollar PC tender called by Queensland's Department of Transport have triggered a backflip on vendor requirements by the department.
The original terms of the tender restricted bidders to PC suppliers who ranked as Gartner Group Consolidated Tier One and Tier Two vendors.
Under that criteria, only vendors shipping 250,000 units annually could bid, which effectively shut every Australian vendor out of the June tender.
After pressure from domestic suppliers forced a ministerial intervention, the department issued a revised tender on July 4 to include Australia's top 10 PC and laptop suppliers.
However, that still excluded local Queensland manufacturers such as Source Technology at a time when Queensland Premier Rob Borbidge was stressing the importance of Queensland's IT industry.
The result was another revision in tender terms on July 22, which effectively removed any vendor pre-qualifications. It also extended the tender's closing data by about a month to August 29.
The department has been the target of criticism over delays in earlier tenders. Gartner Tier One and Tier Two ratings include criteria as support capabilities, financial stability and quality assurance which would have eased the department's evaluation workload had the current tender's original requirements been allowed to stand.
The debate over the tender "has been a tough call for both parties", said AIIA Queensland branch committee member Col Chandler.
"On the one hand a purchaser has the right to choose the type of people they want to supply a contract. On the other side the government has a responsibility for industry development.
"Transport has tried really hard but it is a real pickle and one for which I have great sympathy."