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FaHCSIA to boost its spatial data capabilities

by David Shi •
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The Federal Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA) plans to enhance its spatial data capability over three years, and is looking to establish a panel of suppliers to provide a range of spatial software, products and services for the duration of the program.

The supporting panel will engage suppliers for the provision of:

  1. Category A - Management of spatial data
  2. Category B - Delivery of spatial data, and
  3. Category C - Provision of spatial data.

The Federal Government market for Geographic Information Systems (GIS) was worth $13.1 million in 2009-10, according to Intermedium’s contract database, with Defence and Geosciences Australia the topping the list of purchasers.

The Request for Tender was issued by FaHCSIA in response to recommendations made by a Spatial Capability Review in 2010, which was commissioned by the Department. The review recommended the implementation of a system that would focus on:

  • Enhancing the user experience,
  • Governance including ownership of spatial capability services in FaHCSIA,
  • Whole of Government and interdepartmental co-ordination

The FaHCSIA is the Australian Government's primary source of advice on social policy, and is looking to spatial data infrastructure to inform these policy decisions.

“FaHCSIA’s primary purpose in establishing a comprehensive spatial capability is to contribute to the provision of a reliable and authoritative evidence base for informed policy advice and program implementation by enabling access to standardised location based geographic information,” the tender documents say.

Spatial information and technology utilises location-based data, potentially improving user decision making and productivity. Similar technology is already employed in multiple areas of Government management, including environmental protection, defence and security, search and rescue and biosecurity.

“Spatial enablement of information offers solutions to otherwise intractable problems about organising information and permits more equitable and effective administration of land and resources,” according to an academic journal released by the University of Melbourne about Spatial Information Opportunities for Government.

This procurement activity will contribute toward the Department’s future spatial capability by:

  • Establishing a panel of suppliers, providing a range of specialist spatial software, product and service providers;
  • Securing the  FaHCSIA’s access to suitable spatial software, product and service supply for a number of years; and
  • Spatial software, products and services providing satisfactory value-for-money.

Panel members will be expected to make their offers available to 40 other Federal Government agencies, including Centrelink, the Defence Imagery and Geospatial Organisation  within the Department of Defence, Medicare and the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations.

As a panel of suppliers, the project is expected to deliver cost-effective solutions and spatial technologies that will cater for the Department’s needs.

Successful applicants may also be subject to police checks, ensuring full compliance in accordance with relevant jurisdictional requirements for working with children. The Department will also accept joint Tenders and consortiums.

Tender applications are due by 2pm EST on 24 May 2011. The panel is expected to become operational from 1 July 2011.


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