Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 05 Hansard (Wednesday, 6 May 2015) . . Page.. 1368 ..
Although there is certainly merit in lowering the threshold in the longer term, I do agree that at this point it makes sense to work with the existing contracts register threshold. This also aligns with the threshold for needing to seek at least three quotations before undertaking procurement. What we do see here in coming to this threshold is some alignment with existing systems whilst delivering on the intent of the legislation.
I agree with the Chief Minister about the importance of ensuring that the ACT government pays its bills on time, particularly with small and medium-sized businesses. As the Chief Minister pointed out in the tabling speech for his bill, even those suppliers who are not SMEs themselves are generally subcontracting to SMEs. Either way, the government needs to pay its bills on time. In that same vein, it was disappointing to discover that the government does not currently have a system to capture the date an invoice is received.
I had understood that the government was paying its bills within 30 days, as had been outlined and agreed in the 2008 parliamentary agreement. But without a system of knowing actually when the invoice was received, it is hard to know how this can be guaranteed or, in fact, how it can be even measured. That is clearly an area that warrants further work.
I understand that Treasury currently has funding to establish an invoice automation system. This system will enable a provision to commence that requires publishing of the date an invoice was received. That is a positive development. To allow time for this system to be established, the requirement for this is being delayed until July 2016 whilst the rest of the bill will commence in July 2015.
Mr Coe initially proposed keeping invoice information online for five years, but this is now being amended to two years. There are a number of other features and we will go through the amendments in a short time. Overall, I guess I am pleased that there has been enough collaboration—just enough collaboration—to get us to the point where we have a way through and that we will actually have a bill that I think delivers the intent of what we probably all agree on in this place, which is that there is benefit in bringing greater transparency in this place.
We have obviously got some process to go through this morning, but I am happy to indicate that I will be supporting the bill in principle and supporting the amendments as we work through them. At the end of this we will have an agreeable and agreed outcome.
MR COE (Ginninderra) (11.08): I present the following paper:
Revised explanatory statement to the bill.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill agreed to in principle.