The PC and Notebook Equipment Panel is expected to be similar to the ITS2000 panel maintained by the NSW state government for the supply of PC equipment to its various departments.
The contract, which was due to expire on October 31, has been extended for a year.
This latest shift towards centralised purchasing is indicative of a broader push by state governments to take an enterprise approach to procurement.
It also follows the appointment of CIOs within both state governments.
PC suppliers discussing the implications of centralised contracts with ARN have expressed concerns that local providers could be cut out because the approach favoured cheap prices rather than specialised product for individual department needs.
Optima chairman and managing director, Cornel Ung, said the vendor had spent about three weeks putting its submission together.
The contract was one of the most complex tenders it had applied for, he said. Other known submissions for the panel include Lenovo, Acer, ASI Solutions and Volante, which all have existing contracts with select Victorian state departments.
ASI managing director, Maree Lowe, said the hardest part of competing for the contract would be pricing.
"There have been some very large bids," Lowe said. "The difficulty for Australian companies is that multinationals have deeper pockets and can subsidise cheap pricing to get the business initially.
"On the positive side, Australian companies shine in service delivery. We are open to working with the multinationals in the delivery of services."
But Volante product director, Shayne Taylor, said he did not agree that the centralised procurement approach being taken by government departments was detrimental to local industry.
"From a business perspective, it's a bit more hit and miss, and the risks are higher, but the rewards are also higher," he said.
To help ensure local product is considered, the Department of Infrastructure spokesperson said it had been required to seek proposals from the Victorian Industry Participation Policy (VIPP) during the tender process.
The department spokesperson said it expected to have the panel in place by the first quarter of next year, with a shortlist to be announced next month.