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Wednesday, 29 August 1973
Page: 618

Mr Street (CORANGAMITE, VICTORIA) asked the Minister for Social

Security, upon notice:

Will tenders be called for the supply of computer equipment required for the Government's proposed National Health Insurance Scheme; if so, will details of tenders received be made public.

Mr Hayden - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

The computing equipment to be procured is made up of three major items:

Item 1

A large data processing system for installation in January 1974 at a cost of approximately $5.5m.

Item 2

A second large data processing system for installation later in 1974 at a cost of approximately $4.3m.

Item 3

An extension to the Department's proposed data acquisition network at a cost of approximately $3. 2m.

In so far as Item 1 is concerned, the Department intends to request the Commonwealth Stores, Supply and Tender Board to certify that it is inexpedient to call open tenders and that an order be placed for the supply of all the equipment under this heading from IBM. The Department's proposal has received the support of the Inter-departmental Committee on ADP on the basis of an assurance that the target date of January 1974 must be maintained.

I mention that this computer needs to be fully compatible with the Department's existing IBM equipment to facilitate the development of common computer programs. Any other course would involve totally unacceptable delays in the implementation timetable for the Australian Health Insurance Plan.

The central processing unit of the second computer, Item 2, must be identical to the first as the two machines must work In such a way as to back each other up utilising common programs and software systems and the Department does not propose to invite open tenders for this unit. However, certain peripheral items for the second machine, which is not needed till nine months after delivery of the first machine, may be available under open tender and this course will be considered. The Department has received support from the Inter-departmental Committee on ADP on these issues.

In regard to the data acquisition equipment, Item 3, open tenders were called on 14 June 1973.

Publication of Tenders

Treasury Directions require the notification in the Gazette of contracts arranged. The information published is the name of the Contractor, a description of the supplies, and the total value of the contract.

Treasury Direction Section 31, paragraph 34, states:

Regulation 53 (3) enables information relating to contracts, additional to that published in the Gazette, to be disclosed at the discretion of the Chief Officer or the Chairman of a Tender Board to such persons as unsuccessful tenderers, potential tenderers and other genuinely interested parties. Such information may include unit prices. Information to an unsuccessful tenderer about the reasons for non-acceptance of his tender should be in terms of his tender's insufficiency rather than in terms of the merits of the successful tender'.

The details of, the unsuccessful bids, containing information of a commercially confidential nature, are retained in the Departmental and Tender Board records.

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