Industry department won’t look into procurement ‘bias’

Joseph Brookes
Senior Reporter

The Industry department has never checked the books of a supplier it awarded a $31 million commercialisation services contract to, despite an independent audit finding “bias” in the decision and the supplier’s subsequent conflicts of interest not being effectively managed.

The concerns came from a damning federal audit of delivery partners for the Entrepreneurs’ Programme, which in 2022 revealed i4 Connect was chosen over a higher scored and far cheaper bid.

The Victorian company went on to miss contractual deadlines by months and added more controversy when it provided the commercialisation services to a startup its management had invested in, helping it win a related government grant.

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