NSW govt sets up sovereign IT taskforce to boost SME participation

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NSW govt sets up sovereign IT taskforce to boost SME participation

Will consider introducing minimum spend targets.

The NSW government has established a new taskforce to explore setting "measurable targets" for sovereign IT procurement to boost participation levels from local small and medium enterprises.

Customer Service Minister Victor Dominello launched the ICT and Digital Sovereign Procurement Taskforce on Thursday to look at diversifying the state’s IT supplier ecosystem.

It comes just weeks after the government struck a five-year sourcing deal with Vault Cloud, making it the only state government to do so with an Australian cloud provider.

In recent months, both the NSW and federal governments have signalled an intention to boost reliance on local IT suppliers, either as part of the COVID recovery or to improve data security.

The taskforce will be charged with developing strategies and policies to identify barriers and bridge gaps that otherwise restrict a diverse ecosystem of IT service providers and suppliers in NSW.

One focus will be “setting measurable targets for ICT and digital sovereign procurement and spend” to enable the increase the number of government supply opportunities for SMEs.

The taskforce will also seek to ensure SMEs, including start-ups, indigenous-run organisations and disability enterprises, can “compete on an equal footing” in IT procurement activities. 

Dominello said the taskforce would lead to a greater diversity of IT service providers and suppliers within the government’s IT ecosystem. 

“It’s all about levelling the playing field and ensuring SMEs can compete on an equal footing,” he said.

Last month, the government committed $1.6 billion to accelerate digital projects that remove legacy infrastructure and build common, reusable platforms over the next three years.

The money, which includes $240 million for cyber security, builds on an initial two-year investment of $100 million when the fund was established in last year’s budget.

Dominello said this investment will “help local SMEs and start-ups to grow, building critical sovereign capability for the future here in NSW”.

Small Business Minister Damien Tudehope added that the taskforce will look at ways to see increased SME spend stimulate the local digital economy and flow through to regional NSW.

The taskforce consultation period will run for two weeks.

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