Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 13 Hansard (1 November) . .
Government Procurement (Financial Integrity) Amendment Bill 2017
Debate resumed from 20 September 2017, on motion by Mr Coe:
That this bill be agreed to in principle.
MR BARR (Kurrajong—Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development and Minister for Tourism and Major Events) (10.36): The government will not be supporting Mr Coe's bill as it stands because it commits an unknown, but potentially significant, amount of money and resources to implement stringent requirements, whilst it remains unclear what issue the bill is actually attempting to resolve. The government's priority in determining the allocation of finite funds is always to prioritise funding of front-line services across health, education, transport, and municipal and community services.
The opposition leader's bill is unachievable in the proposed time frames and the opposition is simply silent on how it would be resourced. In a number of areas, significant resourcing increases and IT system changes would be needed, which would remove funding from a range of essential services.
Broadening the definition of a notifiable invoice to include property and reimbursements is a reasonable step to take, as it brings the scope better into line with Government Procurement Act definitions. Unlike other proposed amendments in the opposition's bill, this will not significantly add to the workload, time expended, and cost for government agencies that are better placed delivering services for the community.
The government will support the inclusion of reimbursements. These are already included on the notifiable invoices register where the relevant threshold is met as part of the overall invoice, which may include other costs incurred, for example, for services received.
The threshold for notifiable invoices is set at $25,000 to coincide with other procurement thresholds: the value below which territory entities may seek a single oral quotation in making their purchases and the threshold for notification of contracts. Reducing the notifiable invoice threshold below $25,000 would capture many invoices for which a single quote purchase was made and for which there may be no written contract.
Single quote purchases are more likely to be from small and medium enterprises and local businesses. These businesses are likely to be more concerned around a potential increase in cost and workload of reporting their transactions than would, say, a large corporation. Lowering the threshold below the current $25,000 would require a major education exercise for hundreds, if not thousands, of current suppliers, costing them money and causing them disruption, as well as making potentially costly changes to the government's procurement systems and processes.
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