NSW sovereign capability taskforce named


James Riley
Editorial Director

The NSW government has named a 23-person ICT/Digital Sovereign Procurement Taskforce charged with making it easier for innovative local tech companies to get access to government contracts, using procurement dollars to build sovereign capability.

Chaired by NSW Customer Service Minister Victor Dominello and including the Minister for Finance and Small Business Damien Tudehope, the taskforce includes five senior government executives from Customer Service and the Treasury, and 15 voices from outside of government.

Included on the Taskforce, which is made up primarily of industry association executives, is National COVID Commission board member Jane Halton, a former Commonwealth departmental secretary who is also on the boards of ANZ Bank and sovereign cloud provider Vault Cloud.

Sydney city
Sovereign taskforce: Industry development via government procurement

Three representatives from the Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) were appointed, including Vault chief executive Rupert Taylor-Price – who has been running the AIIA’s domestic capability working group – as well as the association’s CEO Ron Gauci and Treasurer Murray Hurps, who is director of entrepreneurship at the University of Technology, Sydney.

Other industry groups represented included StartupAUS’ Alex McCauley, NSW Indigenous Chamber of Commerce chief executive Debbie Barwick, Supply Nation CEO Laura Berry and the RegTech Association chief executive Deborah Young.

The outline for an ICT/digital sovereign procurement taskforce was announced late last month and came just weeks after Premier Gladys Berejiklian had unveiled a $1.6 billion investment over three years in government digital infrastructure.

The package was conceived as part of the state’s post-COVID economic stimulus funding and included $240 million targeted at boosting cybersecurity capability. Overall, the funding included $1 billion in new money, and $600 million in redirected savings that would now be invested in building NSW whole-of-government internal tech delivery capability.

Minister Dominello said at the time, the funding was ear-marked as economic stimulus. The state wants to build high-value, job-creating tech and digital businesses in Australia, and will use its government procurement to help achieve this.

The sovereign capability taskforce has been tasked with ensuring policies are in place to ensure those procurement dollars end up where they can have the most positive impact from an industry development perspective.

Among its objectives, the taskforce has been asked to come up with a definition of sovereign procurement, and in particular to define what is an SME. The taskforce will build a current baseline on tech and digital sovereign procurement and then set measurable targets for improving sovereign procurement outcomes.

The NSW ICT/Digital Sovereign Procurement Taskforce is expected to meet for the first time in the second week of September. It has received more than 40 submissions to consider and will report back to government with recommendations in early October.

The full membership of the Taskforce is:

  • Victor Dominello MP, Minister for Customer Service (chair)
  • Damien Tudehope, Minister for Finance and Small Business
  • Ron Gauci, CEO, Australia Information Industry Association (AIIA)
  • Rupert Taylor-Price, Domestic Capability Policy Group (AIIA)
  • Alex McCauley, CEO StartupAUS
  • Simone Scrase, Program Development Manager, BuyAbility
  • Mark Daniels, Executive Director Operations, Social Traders
  • Murray Hurps, Director Entrepreneurship, Innovation & Entrepreneurship Unit (UTS)
  • Debbie Barwick, CEO NSW Indigenous Chamber of Commerce (NSWICC)
  • Laura Berry, CEO Supply Nation
  • Michelle Price, CEO AustCyber
  • Chris Lamont, Small Business Commissioner
  • Deborah Young, CEO The RegTech Association
  • Ian Hudson, Executive Director NSW Industry Capability Network (ICN)
  • Alex Scandurra, CEO Stone & Chalk
  • Peter Bradd, Founding Director Fishburners and MD Rainmaking Innovation Aust + NZ
  • Jane Halton, AO PSM
  • Greg Wells, Government Chief Information & Digital Officer
  • Mark Lenzner, Executive Director ICT / Digital Sourcing
  • Jared Kendler, Executive Director Industry, Innovation & Precincts (Treasury)
  • Kylie Bell, Executive Director, Trade and Investment (Treasury)
  • Sue Woodall, Executive Director NSW Procurement (Treasury)
  • Ian Smith, Director Regional Development, Regional NSW

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