New target will see one-third of NSW’s ICT procurement budget go to SMEs

Damien Tudehope

NSW Finance and Small Business Minister Damien Tudehope. Source: AAP Image/Paul Braven.

The New South Wales government has accepted a number of recommendations that will see small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the information and communications technology (ICT) sector receive a greater share of the state’s procurement expenditure.

The recommendations were made by the ICT and Digital Sovereign Procurement Taskforce, which was established last year with the aim of making it easier for local suppliers of digital and ICT services to engage with the state government.

From April 1, new spend targets will direct NSW government investment to SMEs, and measures will be implemented to enable ICT procurements to “build a resilient and secure” NSW ICT supply chain, the government announced on Monday.

Based on the taskforce’s recommendations, the government has proposed to spend 30% of its ICT addressable spend directly with SMEs, excluding contingent labour.

Further, 25% of the indirect ICT procurement spend in all procurements valued at more than $3 million must be spent with SMEs.

Additional measures which the government has said would benefit startups, Aboriginal-owned, disability and regional enterprises will be announced later this year.

The recommendations recognise the key role SMEs could play in the state’s recovery from the Black Summer bushfires and the coronavirus pandemic, according to Customer Service Minister and taskforce chair Victor Dominello.

“Demand for technology solutions is only going to increase and the tech workforce is only going to get bigger, and we want SMEs to remain at the forefront,” he said.

“This a double win for the state — it will cement our position as the digital capital of the southern hemisphere, and help drive economic growth and job creation.”

Finance and Small Business Minister Damien Tudehope said the changes would benefit small businesses, which he described as “the engine room of our economy” and “the beating heart of our local communities”.

“This is all about making it easier for SMEs in the ICT sector to do business with government, as well as supporting the economic conditions to ensure NSW remains at the cutting edge of innovation and technology,” he said.

The state government recently launched its Buy.NSW Supplier hub — a digital service that makes it easier for businesses to register to sell to government and provides government agencies with a complete list of suppliers.

This article was first published by The Mandarin.

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