Innovation Minister Christopher Pyne has announced the first stage of an online Digital Marketplace for smaller businesses to access government’s $5 billion annual spend on ICT projects.

The marketplace is part of a $1.1 billion National Innovation and Science Agenda, and will be led by the Digital Transformation Office (DTO).

“The Digital Marketplace will be an online catalogue of services, people and technology to assist government with service transformation,” Pyne said.

“We’re keen to open this up to smaller and newly-established businesses who have traditionally found it too big a burden to prove their credentials to government. There have been too many hoops to jump through, so they simply haven’t bothered to apply for government ICT work.

“That’s a lost opportunity, because we know lots of businesses are on the cutting edge of digital innovation and can provide exciting solutions for governments to deliver better services at a lower cost.”

Assistant Minister for Cities and Digital Transformation, Angus Taylor – who is coincidentally embroiled in an unrelated scandal this week - said the DTO was establishing a series of targeted panels of providers, while the Digital Marketplace was being built.

“We’ve launched the first of these panels, a digital specialists’ panel, for professionals in this field, and all interested businesses are encouraged to apply through AusTender,” he said.

They can do so via this link

“This panel will also make it a lot easier for governments to access the digital expertise they need to supplement their in-house teams,” Taylor said.

“These are just the first steps in a greater collaboration between government and the tech industry and I look forward to engaging more with this exciting sector.”

Over coming months, the DTO says it will look at the obstacles that block ICT suppliers from providing digital products and services to government.

Discovery on the Digital Marketplace begins in April 2016, with a public Beta expected by the end of the year.