It was interesting to read the front-page article in the August 22 issue of ARN regarding the Victorian Government and schools.
The situation described is just like that which has been operating for about four years in South Australia.
The implementation of this scheme took away about 40 per cent of our business virtually overnight. We did what we could at the time through various agencies. But regardless of the legalities involved, being government they were able to hide behind special legal technicalities that applied only to them.
The scheme is arranged in such a manner that, even though we could match the pricing, special funding arrangements were not available to schools that went outside the scheme and purchased locally, effectively excluding local purchase arrangements. Once the schools committed themselves, they were effectively locked into it. Interestingly enough, the country schools generally were opposed to the scheme.
We had spent nine years building up the business with schools - all for nothing.
I would warn those country resellers that have been supplying schools in the past that replacing the lost income is very difficult. This is especially so in these post-GST implementation times, when all small businesses, with the exception perhaps of accountants, are doing it incredibly tough and are reluctant to spend.
Unfortunately I feel that those resellers lobbying against this are fighting a losing battle, as governments do not seem to be able to get the message regarding rural businesses and the community in which they live.
By Robin Holding, Partner, Holding's Computer Services, email@example.com.