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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 2 Hansard (6 March) . . Page.. 157..


MR STANHOPE (continuing):

referral power would provide an additional, independent review process, separate from individual agencies, to further strengthen public and industry confidence in ACT government procurement activities.

Another important element of the bill is the proposed incorporation in the act itself, rather than in a subordinate instrument, of specified procurement principles with which agencies must comply in their procurement activities. As part of this change, it is proposed that there be a primary focus on the pursuit by agencies of value for money. The bill further proposes that, in pursuing value for money, agencies must have regard to:

  • probity and ethical behaviour;

  • management of risk;

  • open and effective competition;

  • optimising whole of life costs; and

  • any other matter specified by regulation.

This approach would establish a hierarchy amongst the procurement principles and bring explicit consideration of whole of life costs into the statutory framework for the first time. This is an important element of broader actions by the government to increase the sustainability of government operations and thereby the sustainability of the broader ACT community.

A consequential change detailed in the bill is the repeal of the Government Procurement (Principles) Guideline 2002. The government will continue measures under the existing framework to enhance the ability of local suppliers to compete in government procurement opportunities and measures to ensure that the ACT government deals only with suppliers that comply with their employee and industrial relations obligations. To clarify the application of the act, a definition of "procurement"is proposed for inclusion in the framework.

In addition, the bill proposes that the scope of existing exemptions from the provisions of the act, a number of which have been put in place by the Government Procurement Board, be clearly specified in the act, with any future changes being made by regulation.

Following discussions with the Auditor-General's Office, simplification of the contract reporting provisions detailed in the act is being pursued. Currently, the Government Procurement Act requires that agencies must report to the Auditor-General in relation to reportable contracts containing confidential text. This requirement has two separate aspects with different time frames and different elements. Subsequently, the Auditor-General is required to provide to the Legislative Assembly Standing Committee on Public Accounts copies of the information detailed in consolidated reports that she receives on a six-monthly basis from agencies. The current arrangement is highly inefficient. The bill proposes that in future the consolidated reports be provided directly to the Assembly committee.


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