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Thursday, 26 March 1987
Page: 1424

The PRESIDENT —I wish to inform honourable senators about progress made in information systems developments for the Senate in the new Parliament House. These developments have been undertaken in accordance with the information systems plan approved by the Standing Committee on Appropriations and Staffing. For some time, the Department of the Senate, in conjunction with the other parliamentary departments, has been evaluating tenders for new Parliament House information systems. The selection process has been divided into two distinct stages. The first stage involved the identification of preferred suppliers from among the numerous organisations which have tendered for the business. The second stage will involve the testing of solutions proposed by preferred tenderers in a final evaluation trial which will last some months. It will be conducted using a network similar to that in the new Parliament House which has been installed in the East Block Parliamentary Annexe. A pilot group of senators has been invited to participate in the final evaluation trial. Contracts will be entered into following this evaluation and only when the preferred tenderers have proven that they are able to meet the requirements of the Parliament.

I can now inform the Senate that at this stage the preferred tenderers are the Australian owned and controlled companies Computer Power, as prime contractor, and Computer Corporation of Australia, together with the Australian subsidiary of Digital Equipment Corporation. Preferred tenderers have been identified by an evaluation committee comprising representatives of each parliamentary department. The solutions proposed are likely to have applications in each parliamentary department, and their implementation will ensure compatibility. This will allow senators, members and other users ready access to all information systems services through the one terminal. Furthermore, substantial savings in support costs should be achievable from such standardisation in equipment and software. It should be noted that some categories of equipment and services cannot be fully assessed until they are connected to the evaluation trial network in East Block. As a result of such assessments, suppliers in addition to those that I have mentioned may be selected. The Standing Committee on Appropriations and Staffing will be reviewing departmental proposals and funding implications in this area at its next meeting. I shall keep honourable senators informed of progress in the selection process.