Page 5911 - Week 14 - Thursday, 8 December 2011

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The contracts register’s functionality allows the public to search easily for information such as the contractor, the execution and expiry dates for the contract, whether confidential text has been removed, whether there is a panel of suppliers for the contract, whether there have been contract variations and the type of procurement leading to the contract—for example, a public tender, a single select tender or quotations.

In addition, the act requires that the government publish the public text of each notifiable contract on the contracts register. We are the only Australian jurisdiction to require this, proving the government’s commitment to openness and transparency. To balance efficiency and transparency, we are proposing a streamlined reporting regime for reportable contracts. The government has previously undertaken to consult with the committee before making any change to this reporting requirement.

The committee has indicated that it considers its role is aided by receiving the reports. Even though the contracts register is accessible and has so much information, the government understands the committee’s position. In light of the committee’s view, the government proposes to amend the act to require 12-monthly reports, rather than six-monthly. This streamlining strikes a balance between efficiency in procurement and providing the committee the opportunity to scrutinise government contracts. I must say, though, that I am hopeful that over time the committee will develop confidence in the contracts register so that administrative processes can be even further streamlined.

The third amendment clarifies an anomaly in the Procurement Act regarding the length of time a contract’s public text must be accessible. The bill will make clear that all the information on a notifiable contract, including the public text of the contract, must be accessible from the contracts register for at least two years.

In conclusion, these amendments set certain thresholds by regulation, streamline reporting requirements and clarify notifiable contracts accessibility. They will all contribute to open, transparent and efficient procurement practices by the territory. I commend the Government Procurement Amendment Bill 2011 to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Mr Smyth) adjourned to the next sitting.

Civil Unions Bill 2011

Mr Corbell, pursuant to notice, presented the bill, its explanatory statement and a Human Rights Act compatibility statement.

Title read by Clerk.

MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Attorney-General, Minister for Police and Emergency Services and Minister for the Environment and Sustainable Development (10.28): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

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