Page 207 - Week 01 - Wednesday, 11 February 2015

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I urge members to support this motion today and, by doing so, support our local economy, support our local business sector and support the creation of local jobs.

MR BARR (Molonglo—Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Minister for Urban Renewal and Minister for Tourism and Events) (5.35): I move:

Omit all words after paragraph (1)(a), substitute:

“(b) that yesterday, the Chief Minister announced that the ACT Government will create a new position of Local Industry Advocate to work with local industry to identify improvements to government procurement processes;

(c) Access Canberra, our new one-stop-shop to cut red tape has already started making life easier for small and large businesses; and

(d) that the ACT Government’s vision for growing Canberra’s economy is built on three strategic imperatives—fostering the right business environment, supporting business investment, and accelerating business innovation; and

(2) calls on the ACT Government to maintain economic activity, to encourage investment and, above all, to grow jobs.”.

I thank Mr Wall for his motion today as it provides an opportunity to talk about some of the measures that my government is taking to make it easier for local businesses to win ACT government contracts. The measures we have introduced have been consistent with the ACT government’s interstate obligations and also obligations that this country has in various free trade agreements that place limits on the capacity of the territory government to favour some local suppliers over other entrants in an open tender process.

In light of all of those constraints, 18 months ago the government introduced a local SME weighting for goods and services procurements, announced in April 2012 as part of our business development strategy. Last year the government implemented further reforms to help support the local construction industry. An example of this was some of the “ready now” smaller value projects that were released to the market before the passage of the budget made funding available for larger projects. The government adjusted its pre-qualification system by adding three new thresholds and requiring tenderers to have pre-qualification categories for a project’s annual spend instead of for its full value. This made it easier for a large number of small businesses to be eligible to bid for various ACT government construction contracts.

Yesterday in the Assembly I announced the government’s next reform in this area—the introduction of a local industry advocate to assist local businesses in the government procurement of goods, services and capital works. Part of the local industry advocate’s role will be to work with government directorates to ensure that work that can be done by local businesses stays in the local region, building capability and economic activity in our city. But I want to make this point very clearly today:

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