In Australia, what does a new government ICT procurement strategy mean for aid?

The Australian government is aiming to create more opportunities for small ICT businesses. Photo by: Field Engineer / CCC0

CANBERRA — A reform of the Australian government’s ICT procurement policy is putting in place caps on the length and value of ICT-related contracts to enable more opportunities for small and medium-sized enterprises. But for the Australian Aid program and its focus on the use of technology to innovate and advance development assistance, what does this mean?

The new policy, announced in Canberra on Aug. 23 by the Digital Transformation Agency’s Assistant Minister Angus Taylor and CEO Gavin Slater, may open competition to the delivery of technical aspects of the aid program. But it may also transform operations and governance of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and deliver better data and reporting to educate the public on foreign aid.

The priority is to innovate

Wednesday’s announcement was a response to an ICT Procurement Taskforce Report that provided 10 key recommendations to improve ICT procurement processes and policies, to improve the visibility of ICT spending, and to improve engagement between government and vendors and develop reforms for ICT panels.

In his speech to representatives of Australia’s ICT sector, Taylor explained that innovation was critical to the strategy moving forward.

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About the author

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    Lisa Cornish

    Lisa Cornish is a Devex Reporter based in Canberra, where she focuses on the Australian aid community. Lisa formerly worked with News Corp Australia as a data journalist for the national network and was published throughout Australia in major metropolitan and regional newspapers, including the Daily Telegraph in Melbourne, Herald Sun in Melbourne, Courier-Mail in Brisbane, and online through Lisa additionally consults with Australian government providing data analytics, reporting and visualization services. Lisa was awarded the 2014 Journalist of the Year by the New South Wales Institute of Surveyors.