Posted on 01. Jul, 2011 in News

In a shock to the Victorian IT Industry, the Baillieu Government has decimated a panel provided assistance for Victorian firms to bid for contracts with government departments and agencies, Shadow Minister for ICT Adem Somyurek said today.

The E-Services panel was lauded by the industry right across Australia as a model that provided contract opportunities for a range of IT companies while providing benefits for the State Government.

Mr Somyurek said the successful panel was set up in 2003 but companies were provided only two days notice of the changes to the framework of the panel, which has seen 75 percent of companies removed.

“The wholesale changes to the panel include the cutting the number of companies on the panel and the removal of the $1 million cap for contracts.

“It will also mean that companies, which are not on the panel, cannot bid or win any contracts with the Victorian Government for at least the next three years,” Mr Somyurek said.

“When questioned in parliament yesterday, Technology Minister Gordon Rich-Phillips implied companies which were removed from the panel were not good enough.

“In fact, after questions were directed to both Mr Rich-Phillips and the Small Business Minister Louise Asher, neither were prepared to take any responsibility for this decision.

“It is clear that both Mr Rich-Phillips and Ms Asher have no understanding of how the IT sector works.

“Despite this being a government panel that allocates government work, Mr Rich-Phillips washed his hands of the decision by saying he was not responsible, even though he as Minister would have to have signed off on changes to the panel’s framework.

“Given the E-Services panel is now mandated across government, one would have assumed this would have be approved by Cabinet.”

Mr Somyurek said the decision had left the industry reeling, and departments in a frenzy as they tried to assess the impact of the decision to the arrangements already in place between the government and the companies which – as of today – are no longer on the panel.

“It has been a flawed process that now threatens Victoria’s pre-eminence as the IT capital of Australia, and we can expect jobs and companies to head to NSW where Premier O’Farrell has put out the ‘Open-for-Business’ sign to IT companies,” he said.

“Mr Baillieu needs to intervene and put a halt to this botched process, extend the life of the previous E-Services panel, and undertake a proper consultative process with the sector and government departments and agencies.”

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