Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 08 Hansard (Wednesday, 4 August 2021) . . Page.. 2286 ..
Labs got the job despite a government document revealing that it did not have the capacity to provide 24/7 support, which it said, “may be desirable, should there be system issues or outages”. Minister, why did you give the job to a Darwin-based company that could not provide 24/7 support instead of following procurement rules and allowing Canberra companies to compete for the work?
MS CHEYNE: I thank the Leader of the Opposition for the question. I am aware of the procurement decision that was undertaken. Ms Lee would have seen in those FOI documents that this was a delegation that was within the directorate, and the provider was, on the face of it, value for money for us. It is important that everyone remember here that at the time ChooseCBR was announced—that we would be pursuing a digital discount system like this—this had only been conducted once. I appreciate that there are several other similar schemes that have taken place and all manner of things since, but at the time just the Northern Territory had done this through the City of Darwin scheme, so this provider appeared to be value for money and also had a system that had a template which we could essentially borrow. But this was a decision that was made within the directorate.
MS LEE: Minister, what is the point of having government procurement regulations if you do not follow them?
MS CHEYNE: I dispute the nature of the question. As Ms Lee pointed out in her very first question, the way this procurement was undertaken was within the rules in terms of seeking an exemption.
MS CASTLEY: Minister, what do you say to the local Canberra ICT companies who would have welcomed the opportunity to tender for the ChooseCBR rollout and have provided the 24/7 support?
MS CHEYNE: Ms Castley is one of the biggest critics in this place of the administrative support—
Mrs Jones: Point of order, Madam Speaker. The member is debating the question rather than answering it. That is against the standing orders.
MADAM SPEAKER: I don’t think it was long enough into the answer, but to answer the question, Ms Cheyne.
MS CHEYNE: As I mentioned in my previous—
Mr Hanson interjecting—
MS CHEYNE: Madam Speaker, as I mentioned in my previous answers, we were looking for value for money here and we were looking for something that could be done quickly, noting the circumstances of the pandemic at the time. This was a product that had already been issued. It had worked in Darwin. We had reviewed it. We wanted to do something similar. So it made sense to procure something off the shelf.