Abbott plans centralised procurement panel

An Australian government led by Coalition leader Tony Abbott would have a single Commonwealth procurement panel for all companies that wish to contract with the government.

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has released a proposal as part of the Coalition's policy to "boost productivity and reduce regulation" (PDF) that would see all government contractors put on one panel.

The party's policy states that there are currently 80 procurement panels in place across the government, with some costing AU$40,000 per panel to register for. The document states that the procurement processes for the government "sometimes impose unnecessary compliance costs on both the Commonwealth and the business community".

Should the Coalition win the federal election later this year, the party has said it will establish a centralised register of Commonwealth contract and grant recipients administered by the Department of Finance.

It will also seek to establish a single, rationalised Commonwealth procurement panel to administer a centralised register of service providers who wish to contract with the Commonwealth, which would also be administered by the Department of Finance.

The Coalition would also increase the threshold for sole source contracts to an as yet undefined amount that the party believes will lower the cost for procurement for the government and vendors for services or products for "relatively low amounts of money".

Although not specifically named in the policy, the government has had a number of whole-of-government panels established for IT procurement over the past few years for mobile services, cloud services, desktops, and hardware services.

The Australian government's newly assigned chief technology officer John Sheridan oversees IT procurement within the government. ZDNet has approached the Department of Finance for comment.

ZDNet has also sought comment from industry on the proposed policy.

Among other proposals contained in the policy, a Coalition government would reward senior public servants with bonuses for making reductions in "red and green tape" within their department, and reducing costs within the department. Abbott has already flagged that as many as 12,000 public sector jobs will go under the Coalition.

The Coalition would also dedicate at least two sitting days a year to repealing legislation.


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