The Australian Computer Society (ACS) has expressed approval at a Federal Government decision to award a contract to Volante Systems but has announced plans to fund research into how much outsourcing to multinationals is costing Australia. ACS national president, Richard Hogg, said it was the first time a local SME had won a government contract of reasonable value and expressed hope that it would not be the last. “The ACS has been outspoken in our criticism of the Commonwealth Outsourcing Program, primarily because of the way it has been dominated by multinationals and sidelined Australian SMEs,” he said. “It’s refreshing and extremely encouraging to see a small Australian company buck the trend to win the contract. Once you open the door, other people decide they can walk through it and I hope this is the first of many such decisions by the Government.” A new research project to be launched by the ACS, which Hogg said was expected to take up to six months and cost tens of thousands of dollars, would seek to provide a clearer picture of the impact of government and corporate outsourcing to multinationals operating in Australia and offshore. A part of the project would be to weigh the multiplier effect of local jobs that are created and lost by outsourcing decisions to gauge the impact on local industry and the economy as a whole. “IT is a driver in a lot of industries and taking away one aspect has a flow on effect in other industries,” Hogg said. “Any job lost has some effect in another area.” Hogg said the ASC might have to collect data from overseas in order to complete its findings. “We believe this kind of in-depth research will provide a valuable tool for industry stakeholders and government decision-makers in terms of informing future policy development and purchasing decisions,” he said.