Hendy Cowan

Hendy Cowan


Kevin Minson

Kevin Minson


    Regional purchasing policy changes will boost local companies

    8/07/1996 12:00 AM



    Changes to the Western Australian Government's regional purchasing policy will increase opportunities for local companies to participate in major Government contracts.


    Regional Development Minister Hendy Cowan and Services Minister Kevin Minson said the ceiling on the 10 per cent regional preference, previously $20,000 per tender, had been raised to $500,000.


    In addition, the policy had been amended to take the regional content of tenders into account, even when the prime contractor was not regionally based.


    Mr Cowan said these variations recognised significant changes in Government purchasing since the regional preference was introduced in the early 1980s.


    "The policy originally aimed to give local businesses a chance to supply small-scale items and services traditionally purchased by regional branches of Government agencies," he said.


    "Now with the introduction of Competitive Tendering and Purchasing and an increasing trend towards contracting out non-core Government operations, purchasing in the regions has expanded significantly.


    "By raising the preference ceiling, we are giving local firms a major encouragement to compete with larger firms from outside their region to provide services such as cleaning, maintenance and gardening to schools and hospitals."


    The changes to the regional purchasing policy are in addition to the local content policy for major resource projects announced by Resources Development Minister Colin Barnett on Friday.


    Mr Cowan said the Government would ensure that all relevant Government purchasing policies were applied throughout purchasing and contracting processes so that competitive regional businesses were given full opportunity to participate.


    Mr Minson said the introduction of a regional content concept would maximise the use of local sub-contractors in large-scale contracts such as those being developed by Westrail and the Main Roads Department.


    "There are very few regionally based firms with the resources or coverage to undertake these tenders which often involve smaller maintenance contracts bundled into a single contract," he said.


    "But by providing a preference to major contractors - based on their use of local sub-contractors - the Government will help keep jobs and business in the region.


    "The value of the regional preference to these tenderers will be directly related to the proportion of their tender that will be locally sourced."


    Media contact: Peter Jackson or Caroline Lacy 222 9595