Australia's Treasury kicks off work to replace foreign investment management system

The Department of Treasury wants to replace the existing platform that requires 'significant manual effort' to run.

Australia's Department of Treasury is looking to upgrade the IT platform it currently uses to assess risk associated with foreign investment to support reforms that were recently introduced by the foreign investment framework.

At the start of the year, Australia's foreign investment framework came into force so that measures around national security, approval processes, and investments in "non-sensitive areas" could be enhanced.

"Foreign direct investment supports one in ten jobs in Australia, and makes a significant contribution to the one in five jobs that are trade-related. However, risks to Australia's national interest, particularly national security, have increased as a result of a confluence of developments -- including rapid technological change and changes in the international security environment," Treasury explained in its request for tender.

"This is a shared challenge and in recent years many countries have updated their foreign investment regimes to manage a range of new risks. On 1 January 2021 Australia's strengthened foreign investment framework came into force in response to these developments."

As part of its tender request, Treasury said it is seeking a delivery partner to help set up a case management system and advanced analytics platform to be delivered under what the department has dubbed will be the foreign investment digital transformation (FIDT) program.

It pointed out in tender documents that the existing IT system requires "significant manual effort" and is "largely a repository of information that lacks the level of sophisticated case management functionality required to meet Treasury's future needs".

"Current limited integration with other systems has inefficiencies that constrain Treasury's future regulatory capability. In addition, the application portal which is the client-facing part of the system, is complex for investors to navigate, is not fully effective in facilitating investor participation, and results in inefficiencies in handling foreign investment applications and compliance monitoring -- for both our clients and government agencies," Treasury stated.

In developing the platform, Treasury wants to ensure it can deliver real-time intelligence insights to case officers and investigators; process large volumes of data and automatically derive insights; leverage public, government, and private data for compliance and detection purposes; enable end-to-end online service delivery for both applicants and partners; and improve the timeliness of data access and the integrity of decision making.

Other requirements include being able to integrate the platform with pre-existing enterprise technologies, including cloud services such Microsoft Power BI, Azure DevOps, Azure Data Factory, and Azure Synapse Analytics, as well as authentication and authorisation services, unified communication services, enterprise monitoring services, and existing cloud services that have been deployed to support the FIDT program.

Additionally, Treasury is seeking a delivery partner that it said it can work "collaboratively with it to iteratively design and deliver the solution and business change".

"Establishing a successful delivery partnership is a critical success factor for delivering the FIDT Program and in realising the government's target outcomes and benefits. The delivery partner will also be required to integrate and establish connections between the solution and the new Register of Foreign Ownership of Australian Assets," the tender said.

The deadline for tender submissions is 10 May 2021.

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