Federal Govt explicitly explores IT offshoring in landmark move


blog If you have spent any time working in IT in Australia’s public sector, you are probably aware that there is something of a taboo in government departments and agencies using offshored IT services such as are provided from countries such as India, as well as increasingly Malaysia, the Philippines and other countries. The issue is often related to data sovereignty, but political pressure has sometimes also meant that departments feel they have to employ Australia-based staff.

This taboo has often even extended to Software as a Service players such as Salesforce.com and Google, who have found it hard to win public sector work in Australia due to their lack of local infrastructure.

However, as iTnews reports (we recommend you click here for the full article), this may be about to change. The site reports from inside a briefing on the Federal Government’s recent plans to embark on a mammoth IT shared services scheme:

“Finance officials pointed directly to the NSW government’s offshoring experiment as an example of the kind of model it is investigating …”

The plan which iTnews is referring to here is the discussion paper issued in December last year by the Department of Finance, which seeks industry and other stakeholder opinions on how the Federal Government can best implement a strategic shared services scheme to serve the needs of its departments and agencies. Delimiter reported extensively on the plans here.

The model which Finance appears to be examining is the one followed by the NSW Government. I wasn’t active as a journalist when this deal was signed in June last year, but ZDNet has more here. It appears that the deal will see Unisys act as an oversight body and leverage the offshore resources that Infosys has in India to serve the NSW Government’s needs.

I’ll have more to say about this move shortly.


  1. The requirement to host onshore comes from the ASD Information Security manual with a control introduced last year. The two criteria are that data must be hosted in Australia (to protect it from foreign governments) and in an IRAP certified data centre (to protect it from hackers). The ASD Certified Cloud Providers list includes data centres from Amazon and Microsoft as well as Macquarie and Sliced Tech.

    I fail to see how data can be hosted offshore without ASD changing the ISM.

    • The ISM reflects Policy, which reflects Risk Assessment. Change the Policy and the ISM will follow.

  2. Final nail in local IT coffin has now been hammered home. Oh well it was good while it lasted. Now I’m off learning how to drive a bus or a truck. Maybe I could get a job driving the local refuse truck, I expect there will be lots of applicants from offshore people seeking a visa in that market too. Maybe the dole is the better choice. Thanks Australia Government for making jobs scarce.

  3. Look, don’t youse get IT yet???? Australia Is Still A COLONY. Youse used to be Poms, now yous’re Yanks. Colonies don’t make their own stuff. Not cars, not computers, not aeroplanes, not ships.

    Australia Is a Farm With A Couple Of Mines In IT. Thassall.

    Now get off your high horses and back behind the plows. We Will Tell Youse When Youse Can Think For Yourselves. And Not Before!

  4. Hmm this was inevitable… technocrats in policy don’t want to listen (believe me I tried)… unless they are looking after their crown jewels. Then its a different story…. its good for the lucky few who work in that space.

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