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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 13 Hansard (Thursday, 18 November 2010) . . Page.. 5705 ..

We did find that, for very small businesses, the whole ACT government procurement framework was somewhat intimidating, so we felt there was work to be done there. Another place in terms of process where there is obvious work to be done is with the online tender system. The suggestion was made to us by a number of people that maybe we could just adopt the commonwealth government’s online tendering system, which appears to be better than ours. I do not speak as a user; that is what they said about that.

One of the other areas we talked about was Procurement Solutions liaising with the community sector. In the past the community sector used to get grants for this, that and the other, and often for quite substantial programs. But, more and more, things have changed and the community sector is involved in procurement operations. We heard evidence that this was quite burdensome for some in the community sector and involved a whole change of attitude. We made a number of recommendations about this. We recommended that Procurement Solutions liaise with peak bodies in the community sector and have regular briefing sessions so that the sector can better understand procurement processes, and to give the sector early advice of possible opportunities. We also thought they should look at the possibility of prequalification and panel arrangements, which could hopefully reduce the effort required by the community sector to lodge tenders.

Recommendation 12 states:

… the ACT Government review the legal powers and resources of regulatory bodies such as ACT Workcover and the ACT Long Service Leave Board to ensure that these entities can discharge their responsibilities proactively.

Once completed, the ACT Government should inform the ACT Legislative Assembly of the outcome of the Review.

The reason for this recommendation is that there was quite a body of discussion and evidence around the industrial relations issues from some of the contractors and subcontractors on how ACT procurement could be involved in this. There seemed to be some issues with the distribution of responsibility between the various bodies. Procurement Solutions acknowledged that, while it often received complaints, it could, as a committee member put it, “not actually do much with the information other than pass it on to someone who can deal with it”. The Executive Director of ACT Procurement Solutions responded to this statement by saying, “Exactly.”

Given the continuing discussion in the papers and submissions to the committee, we felt this was an area which needed some greater work. It is important that people working basically on government jobs are paid appropriately. I am sure it is something that the government should have responsibility for.

On recommendation 14, I note again that Mr Hargreaves was not involved in this. Recommendation 14 notes the sad history of various problems at the Mugga Lane and Mitchell waste transfer and tip facilities. We noted also there was ongoing legal action and that, with respect to these items, the committee was not set up in any way to deal with them. However, we did note there was still considerable disquiet and discomfort

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