Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 14 Hansard (Thursday, 8 December 2011) . . Page.. 5910 ..
Debate (on motion by Mr Coe) adjourned to the next sitting.
Government Procurement Amendment Bill 2011
Mr Barr, pursuant to notice, presented the bill, its explanatory statement and a Human Rights Act compatibility statement.
Title read by Clerk.
MR BARR (Molonglo—Deputy Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development and Minister for Tourism, Sport and Recreation) (10.22): I move:
That this bill be agreed to in principle.
I am very pleased to present to the Assembly the Government Procurement Amendment Bill 2011. The bill amends the Government Procurement Act 2001 to streamline procurement activities and promote efficiency. Indeed, this bill is a tangible demonstration of the government’s commitment to open and efficient government, including in our procurement processes.
The bill will do three things. It will clarify the mechanism setting the notifiable contracts threshold, it will amend the reporting requirements on reportable contracts to once a year, from every six months, and it will rectify an anomaly in relation to the length of time that a notifiable contract remains accessible to the public.
The government is increasing the threshold at which notifiable contracts must be published on the ACT government contracts register. The increase in the threshold, from $20,000 to $25,000, aligns with the threshold for centralised procurement activity and the threshold for seeking the minimum three quotations when an agency conducts a procurement process. This change will simplify administration and reduce confusion. We will review all three thresholds at least once every three years and will maintain their alignment in the future.
Further, we propose streamlining the mechanism that sets the threshold. Currently the act states that the notifiable contracts threshold is $20,000 unless another amount is prescribed by regulation. The increase in the notifiable contracts threshold to $25,000 will be achieved by setting the value in the government procurement regulations 2007 and removing reference to the threshold in the act. This change will enable subsequent threshold changes to be made simply and efficiently through administrative processes rather than legislative amendment. Further, removing the act’s reference to the “setting the threshold” may prevent confusion from different thresholds in different legislation.
Under the Procurement Act, a notifiable contract that has confidential text removed is known as a reportable contract. The government believes there is room to streamline the red tape associated with the reporting requirement for reportable contracts. The act requires the public accounts committee to receive reports on reportable contracts for every six months. These reports are based on information on the ACT government’s contracts register.