The federal government has gone to the market for a tech provider to develop a new foreign investment IT platform to replace the existing system, which has “not kept pace” with demand.
Treasury issued a tender in late March for the Foreign Investment Digital Transformation program, which will see the development of a new case management system and advanced analytics capability.
In last year’s budget the federal government allocated $86.3 million over four years for a new tech platform to “support more effective and efficient foreign investment application processing and compliance activities across government and a new consolidated Register of Foreign Ownership of Australian assets”.
It comes after the government launched its significant reform package to the Foreign Investment Review Board at the start of this year, including a new national security test for any company deemed to be a “national security business”, and powers for the Treasurer to block or divest a foreign investment.
The new foreign investment ICT platform will replace the legacy system, which has not kept pace with increased pressures, with the system becoming “markedly more complex and resource-intensive over the past few years”, the department said.
“Currently bespoke information technology systems are used and maintained by Treasury to enable the management of foreign investment. That system has not kept pace with policy and operational demands,” Treasury said.
“The current system is not a fully functional case management system and does not enable enhanced capabilities including identity verification, case management, compliance reporting or consultation with other government agencies.”
The new platform will likely be made up of “scalable commercial off-the-shelf offerings”, with the winning bidder to enter into a three-year contract with the department.
The new register of foreign owned assets will be developed and run by the ATO and is not included in the Treasury piece of work.
The case management system and advanced analytics platform will be combined with integration and other services, forming a “complete solution” for Treasury to handle the foreign investment process.
Treasury said it is ideally looking for one private contractor to provide both solutions.
It is also looking for additional delivery partners with “appropriate tech solutions, delivery experience and mindset to 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 Foreign Investment Digital Transformation program and in realising the government’s target outcomes and benefits,” the tender said.
The department intends to ink a deal with the winning bidder by September this year.
The reforms to Australia’s foreign investment process were passed by Parliament late last year and came into effect from the start of this year.