Victorian govt shelves plan for digital marketplace

Denham Sadler
National Affairs Editor

Plans for a Digital Victoria marketplace have been placed indefinitely on hold by the state government due to “unforeseen circumstances”.

Earlier this year the Victorian Department of Premier & Cabinet issued an advance tender notice for the establishment of a Digital Victoria marketplace. Digital Victoria is a new state agency established in 2020 to drive the government’s digital transformation efforts, with $195.9 million in funding.

The marketplace was intended to provide a “highly scalable and flexible” procurement approach for the state government for IT products and services. This would be for departments and agencies buying products and services under already established state purchase contracts and panel arrangements.

An industry briefing for the tender notice was planned for late next week. But over the weekend the tender was withdrawn, with the government canning its plans to launch in the third quarter of this financial year.

Spring Street
The Victorian Parliament, Spring Street

“Due to unforeseen circumstances, the program release date will be delayed. As a result, the invitation to supply and the industry briefing will be placed on hold until further notice,” the Victorian government said.

A state government spokesperson said that as the tender was issued in advance, there has been no change to the Digital Victoria marketplace plan.

“There is no change in establishing the Digital Victoria marketplace. A tender for the establishment of the marketplace is expected to be issued later this year,” the spokesperson told InnovationAus.

The Victorian government is also planning to merge its two central tech buying schemes into a single register for departments and agencies to procure services and hardware.

This will see the eServices Register and IT Infrastructure Register combined into the one system. It’s unclear how the digital marketplace will work with this new register.

The state unveiled its five-year digital strategy late last year, introducing staged funding for digital projects and improvements to its procurement process.

The strategy outlines a four-step approach to software selection, focusing on reusing existing platforms where possible. If this is not possible, the state government will then look to subscribe to existing software, before buying it off-the-shelf. As a last resort, a department or agency can look to build its own software.

The Victorian government also pledged to consider procurement from the point-of-view of a range of businesses, to review and re-evaluate the internal processes for this and simplify it where possible.

“Government procurement and partnering is a significant lever for stimulating the digital economy. Fully realising this potential relies on government being accessible and easy to do business with,” the strategy said.

“The lack of structures for repeated, effective partnerships with other organisations to jointly achieve government objectives present challenges in engaging productively with the private sector.”

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