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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 5 Hansard (6 May) . . Page.. 1569 ..


Motion (by Mr Berry ) agreed to:

That standing order 76 be suspended for this sitting.



Debate resumed.

MR SMYTH (Minister for Urban Services) (10.38): Mr Speaker, under the current administrative arrangements, I am the Minister responsible for government procurement. The Government has set out standards for that quite clearly. The Government's purchasing policy is based on six principles. Those principles are: Value for money; open and effective competition; probity and ethical behaviour; buy locally; environmentally responsible purchasing; and risk management. I think all would agree that these are worthy principles and that they should be adhered to.

Mr Speaker, ACT government purchasing is performed in a decentralised model whereby each agency is accountable for its procurement practices. Under this arrangement, chief executive financial instructions in each agency prescribe financial arrangements that include purchasing. ACT Contracts and Purchasing, a unit in Urban Services, provides tendering and contracting advice and services to all agencies. We have significant knowledge there, Mr Speaker, that is available to the other agencies to make sure that they do get it right, that they are adhering to the six principles. Template documents have been developed and maintained for each of the major groups of contracts. Services are provided free of charge at present, but they will operate under a fee-for-service arrangement from 1 July 1999.

Mr Speaker, approximately 350 contracts per annum are arranged and approximately 180 tenders are let. The Urban Services master register of contracts at 31 March 1999 reported current contracts with a total value of some $141m. It is very pleasing that 86 per cent of these contracts are supplied from within the Canberra region. ACT Contracts and Purchasing develops a whole-of-government purchasing policy and advises other government bodies on procurement matters.

Mr Speaker, this is an interesting motion. It is a motion that the Chief Minister will speak to and move some amendments. We believe that through ACT Contracts and Purchasing there is a very clear process. It is a process that works very well. A purchasing manual has been developed. Training in procurement is provided by Contracts and Purchasing to ensure that people are abiding with the intent of the Government's policy, so much so that we purchased a licence from the Victorian Government Purchasing Board in 1998 to ensure that this information is as up-to-date as possible. The Chief Minister will comment further on this motion on behalf of the Government and will have some amendments to move.

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