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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 12 Hansard (23 November) . . Page.. 3878..


MR STANHOPE (continuing):

In accordance with the requirements of the act, the operation of the act has been reviewed. The review was conducted in consultation with a range of external bodies, including the government procurement board and the procurement consultative committee. The board has private sector and public sector members. The procurement consultative committee includes representatives of industry associations and Unions ACT. The Auditor-General's Office also contributed to the review.

The review committee comprised senior public servants with extensive experience in procurement matters. It has proposed a range of changes to the act and associated statutory instruments that would streamline some existing requirements and clarify the intent of others. I table the review report, which details the committee's key findings and recommendations.

The government accepts the recommendations and has decided to bring forward legislation to implement the changes to the current statutory framework proposed by the review committee. This legislation will be introduced next year.

The proposed changes would remove a range of unnecessary administrative obligations, improve the efficiency of relevant government operations, reduce the time frames for individual procurement activity and maintain public accountability and transparency of government procurement activity. As members of the Assembly would be aware, the ACT has the most transparent and publicly accountable procurement framework in Australia. This position will be maintained.

Key elements of the proposals include modifications to the role and functions of the board, including giving it a more strategic advisory role to government and removing its ability to make disallowable instruments and determine the regulatory framework faced by agencies. The government believes that this latter function is more appropriately discharged by the executive and the Assembly.

Regulations or other disallowable instruments would be issued when required, including in relation to matters currently covered by guidelines. This change would include the responsible minister, the Treasurer, having the power to refer classes of procurement activities—for example, by type, risk profile or procurement proposals with an estimated value above a specified threshold—to the board for review and by a proposed power for ministers and chief executives to refer other individual proposals to the board for review and advice when considered necessary.

The proposed changes also include placing a primary focus on the pursuit by agencies of value for money. 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 framework for the first time. The requirement to pursue value for money outcomes would be explicit in the act, rather then being in subordinate legislation.

The review committee has recommended the continuation of measures under the existing framework to enhance the ability of local suppliers to compete for


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