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Gear up online or lose: Minister

WA BUSINESSES should gear up to trade in the online economy or risk being marginalised by the Internet business boom, says Works and Services Minister Mike Board.

Mr Board said government procurement was now such a rapidly developing business, suppliers needed to be on the ball to keep up with progress.

“As much as 60 per cent of global revenue is expected to be produced through e-commerce activity by 2005,” he said.

“The success of Australia in the world e-commerce market in the next millennium depends very much on the willingness of industry to participate in electronic purchasing.”

Mr Board said the WA Government was developing an electronic marketplace allowing its purchasing officers to deal directly with suppliers via an online ordering facility.

The project, by the Depart-ment of Contract and Management Services and the Office of Information Communications, has been successfully piloted in Bunbury.

“Procurement in the public sector is being overtaken by a shift towards contracted service solutions with calculated outputs and agreed outcomes,” Mr Board said.

“Most mature plans in government purchasing now mean we are moving towards more complex, higher value, longer term contracts for our $6 billion purchase of goods, services and infrastructure.

“We now pursue whole-of-project contracts and, as a result, supply of services has increased by $2 billion while the purchase of goods has decreased $1 billion.

“Third party purchasing accounts for those changes.”

Mr Board said the changing complexity of contracting envir-onments held many implications for government agencies, suppliers and the community.

One of the most significant implications is a community expectation of greater transpar-ency to allow it to judge

government procurement on its processes as well as outcomes.

The need for transparency is of increasing importance as technology makes purchasing faster and easier.

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