Buys thousands of laptops, monitors for staff as JobKeeper starts to roll.

The Australian Taxation Office has equipped thousands of staff with new Dell laptops and HP monitors to make the jump from office to home working amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The national revenue collection agency last week signed off on two contracts with Dell and Kirra Services for the new devices at a cost of $2.16 million and $480,000, respectively.

It comes as around half the agency’s 18,000-strong workforce begin working from home, according to The Canberra Times, following large-scale test runs in late March.

The Australian Public Services Commissioner has urged public servants to work from home wherever practical since last week, though the decision still falls to agency heads.

An ATO spokesperson told iTnews the devices will allow staff to work remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic, in line with the agency’s business continuity plan.

“The ATO purchased these for staff working remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic and will continue to use them once conditions return to normal,” the spokesperson said.

“Enabling staff to work remotely is part of the ATO’s business continuity plan.”

Under the deals, Dell and Kirra Services will provide an undisclosed number of Dell Latitude 5400 laptops and HP E243 23.8-inch IPS monitors.

The spokesperson declined to say how many Dell and HP devices have been purchased from each supplier, as the details are commercial in confidence.

Dell Latitude 5400 laptops currently retail for just under $2000 each, while HP E243 IPS monitors retail for $300 each.

This suggests at least 1100 laptops and 1600 monitors have been purchased, though the number of devices is likely to be higher when enterprise volume discount pricing is taken into account.

The Tax spokesperson said that while the laptops and monitors were not for any particular group, staff that are working on COVID-19 stimulus measures would be prioritised.

The agency is responsible for overseeing the government’s new JobKeeper subsidy, which will give companies $1500 per employee each fortnight if turnover has fallen by 30 percent due to COVID-19.

“Once the COVID-19 period has finished, they will be reallocated according to the ATO’s priorities at that time,” the spokesperson said.

Last year, the ATO bought more than 12,000 Dell desktops and laptops to replace its end-of-life fleet of Hewlett-Packard devices by May 2023.

However, almost all the devices procured under the $12 million desktop and laptop environment refresh were desktops.