Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 7 Hansard (2 July) . . Page.. 2586..
MS GALLAGHER (Molonglo—Minister for Health, Minister for Children and Young People, Minister for Disability and Community Services, Minister for Women): As the Chief Minister is absent from question time on official business, I will be taking any questions without notice that members have across his range of portfolios.
Questions without notice
MR SESELJA: My question is to the Deputy Chief Minister, Ms Gallagher. On 27 May 2008 the ACT government awarded GHD Pty Ltd a $244,819 contract for "further development options for former school sites"via a single select tender process as documented in a letter of acceptance. Can you clarify for the Assembly and the people of Canberra how, in awarding a significant tender in this fashion, you are complying with the exemption clauses set out in the Government Procurement Regulation 2007?
MS GALLAGHER: I thank Mr Seselja for the question. On 27 May the government engaged a well-known local firm, GHD, to undertake a community consultation process on the future use of eight community sites. As part of the $24 million budget initiative to enhance community facilities, the government had announced a further round of community consultation to be undertaken over the next two to three months, with a report to government on the community's views in August 2008.
During May 2008 the Chief Minister's Department, with assistance from ACT Procurement Solutions, undertook a procurement process in line with the Government Procurement Act 2001 to engage GHD to undertake the consultation. Given the short time frame in which this particular procurement activity needed to be completed to meet the project time frames, ACT Procurement Solutions advised that a single select tender would be appropriate on this occasion as it satisfied the relevant criteria. The Chief Minister's Department explored the suitability of a number of known firms before it determined it would engage GHD to undertake this work.
Under clause 10 of the Government Procurement Regulation 2007 the responsible chief executive officer for a territory entity may, in writing, exempt the entity from the requirement to go to open tender only if satisfied on reasonable grounds that the benefit of the exemption outweighs the benefit of compliance with the requirement. The regulation provides examples where exemptions may be given, including "the time within which a particular procurement activity must be completed prevents public tenders being called".
MR SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Seselja.
MR SESELJA: Minister, why was there such urgency in this case, given how long the process has taken to date?
MS GALLAGHER: This has been called for by the community. The urgency was to ensure that the government had before it prior to the election information to which we