The Federal Government has developed a confidential register of large-scale IT projects, allowing Commonwealth departments early on to probe the level of commitment IT companies have to "industry development" in Australia.
"The whole Federal IT outsourcing plan has had a focus on IT industry development. There's a requirement that there's an industry development component in all IT contracts," a spokesman for the Office of Asset Management and IT Outsourcing (OASITO) told ARN.
"That has benefited regional Australia with 400 jobs already," he said.
According to the Department of Communications, IT and the Arts and OASITO, the two departments driving the initiative, "large-scale projects" were assuredly multi-million dollar deals. Companies may also pitch the same project to more than one tender.
"The formal Project Register and the expanded view of regional activity in the Industry Development Framework is a major step forward in the development of a vigorous, globally competitive IT industry through outsourcing," said John Fahey, Federal Minister for Finance, who under OASITO manages IT outsourcing and the register.
According to Senator Richard Alston, Federal Minister for Communications, IT and the Arts, the register will enable companies to "confidentially register industry development projects with the Government," and in turn, "commence irrespective of the timing of the tender process."
A combination of small and multinational IT services companies including Advantra, Asia Online, Peachtree, Cisco Systems and IBM-GSA have reportedly registered their interest in a December 2000 "Group 11" IT tender covering the Treasury; Employment, Workplace Relations and Small Business; and Education, Training and Youth Affairs departments. The OASITO spokesman said five core contracts for Group 11 had a total market worth of $1.26 billion.
"There are expectations that other companies will register their interest in industry development," he speculated, declining to comment on specific, private metropolitan or regional developments in the pipeline. "How long is a piece of string? We don't have a ball park or set number of (expected) projects," he maintained.
To date, the Federal Government's IT outsourcing initiative has generated $290 million in IT exports and "import replacement", and $90 million in strategic investments in Australia, the spokesman said.