IBM, Telstra, Boeing among largest tech suppliers to Australian government

Over the 10 years through 2018-19, contracts to the value of AU$490.8 billion were procured publicly by the federal government.
Written by Asha Barbaschow, Contributor

Australian government entities publicly awarded AU$490.8 billion in contracts over a 10-year period, with AU$64.5 billion of that total spent in 2018-19.

Two of the top five procurement categories from 2009 through 2019 were explicitly technology-related, with just shy of AU$7.3 billion spent across both.

For services under the "engineering and research and technology-based services" and "information technology broadcasting and telecommunications" categories, IBM Australia has walked away with nearly AU$4.3 billion.

Must read: IBM banks on strong history for success with AU$1b government contract

Telstra has been awarded nearly AU$8.2 billion; Optus, just shy of AU$1.1 billion; and Fujitsu Australia, a little over AU$1 billion.

Covering all five categories, Boeing has received just over AU$9.2 billion and Lockheed Martin AU$1.1 billion.

The information was revealed in a report [PDF] from the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO), which was looking into the procurement practices of Commonwealth entities.

As ANAO detailed, 66% of Commonwealth entities are required to centrally report data on AusTender for contracts they have awarded with a value above prescribed reporting thresholds.

There is no centralised reporting on the value of procurement activity undertaken by 34% of entities, however, as they are not covered by the Commonwealth Procurement Rules (CPRs). Some of those not covered by CPRs, ANAO said, are engaged in "significant" procurement activities.

In its report, ANAO mentioned many entities have delayed AusTender reporting, with 17% of publications in 2018-19 taking longer than the prescribed 42 days.

"Delays are often significant, with it being common for reporting to take more than twice as long as it is supposed to," the audit revealed.

ANAO said more than half of all contracts are awarded after a limited tender, rather than an open tender. While contracting through procurement panels has been growing "significantly".

"There are also indications that some panels are being accessed after their reported end date," ANAO wrote.

Over the 10 years up to, and including 2018-19, 651,951 parent contracts were reported on AusTender. There were also 94,155 amendments reported over this period, ANAO said.

The AU$490.8 billion total comprised of AU$378 billion worth of parent contracts and AU$112 billion in amendments.


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