Call for better access to SA's IT spend

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Call for better access to SA's IT spend

The ICT Council of South Australia has called on the state government to give local IT businesses access to SA’s estimated $500 million IT market.

The ICT Council of South Australia has called on the State’s Government to give local ICT businesses access to SA’s estimated $500 million IT market.

The Council said removal of the uncapped liability clause from government contracts could open the market up for local IT specialists and allow them to compete with multi-national vendors.

David Raffen, ICT Council Chair said uncapped liability was a barrier for local companies and favours multinationals whose solutions may be inferior.

“If a niche software specialist can deliver massive savings on government networks, but employs 20 or so staff, then the company’s size is a handicap."

The demand follows the awards of SA Government contracts to multinationals with little or no local connections. The Council’s aim is to gain the support necessary for SA ICT exports to grow.

“When local companies venture into the US or European market, many are asked who uses their software or services. It is a huge drawback when they admit that their own government is not one of their customers,” he said.

Like other Australian states, 85 percent of SA’s ICT companies employ fewer than 50 staff and the Council sees its “SolutionCity Adelaide” brand as essential to global success.

SA software companies have tended to dominate the annual Deloitte Fast 50 Technology Companies and in the 2005 national Secrets of Australian Innovation Competition, 19 of the 66 finalists were South Australian.

Raffen said: “It’s a bloody secret, no-one in government knows the world class players in their own back yard.”

The Council said ICT companies have made $2.1 billion dollars in export for 2005 and the broad reach of ICT warrants it own portfolio and a dedicated ICT Minister.

“ICT should be included in the state government’s strategic growth plan, he said.

“We need to put some serious Cabinet support behind the industry that can most help achieve the government’s objective of tripling exports by 2013.”

Raffen said the local indsutry has world class Internet, security, medical and communications software as well as specialist services.

“The whole process of new government contracts are grinding many companies down. They respond to detailed requests for tenders and the Governments taking months and even years to evaluate responses,” he said.

"This is an enormous waste of effort for local companies and they are often left wondering why their offers are ignored.”
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