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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 2 Hansard (1 March) . . Page.. 441 ..

Thursday, 1 March 2001

The Assembly met at 10.30 am.

(Quorum formed.)

MR SPEAKER (Mr Cornwell) took the chair and asked members to stand in silence and pray or reflect on their responsibilities to the people of the Australian Capital Territory.

Government Procurement Bill 2001

Mr Humphries, pursuant to notice, presented the bill and its explanatory memorandum.

Title read by Clerk.

MR HUMPHRIES (Chief Minister, Minister for Community Affairs and Treasurer) (10.31): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

I present to the Assembly an important bill which is integral to the government's program of procurement reform in the ACT public service. The bill will create the Government Procurement Board, which will develop, implement and review policies and practices for the procurement of goods, services and works by territory entities.

One of the board's key responsibilities will be the establishment of a procurement accreditation system which will govern purchasing activities and ensure that only officers with accredited skills and competencies perform major procurement activities, in accordance with agreed procedures.

Through its advisory role to the government and government agencies, the board will ensure the ongoing improvement of procurement practices and purchasing skills in government agencies. The board will develop and issue procurement guidelines, and monitor the key purchasing activities of territory entities. Procurement guidelines will be issued as disallowable instruments under this legislation. The status of the guidelines, previously considered to be discretionary, will be enhanced by their issue as disallowable instruments with compliance mandated.

Initially, the board will focus on commercial procurement activities by the main government departments. Regulations will be developed at a later stage to extend the coverage to territory-owned corporations, statutory authorities and government business enterprises, as appropriate. Similarly, service agreements with public organisations and non-profit organisations may be covered by guidelines issued by the board at a later stage.

Importantly, the board's central functions will not detract from the accountability of chief executives. The board will set the overall and consistent standards for procurement activities and provide advice to chief executives, but will not have executive power to enter contracts, nor to prevent agencies from entering contracts.

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