The Western Australian Government today unveiled a major overhaul of its public sector purchasing policy.
The new policy document `Buying Wisely' aims to increase quality, cost-effectiveness and accountability in all Government purchasing of goods and services.
Services Minister Kevin Minson, who launched `Buying Wisely' this morning, said the policy provided a blueprint for the future direction of purchasing and supply within Government.
"It establishes the purchasing function as an essential part of strategic planning within every government department and agency as part of the Government's ongoing better management program," Mr Minson said.
"Purchasing will now be a priority for all chief executive officers. CEOs will also become more accountable for the impact of their buying decisions on industry, small businesses and the community as a whole.
"Wherever possible, the policy aims to ensure local providers are given priority for the provision of goods and services."
Mr Minson said the restructure of the purchasing policy was necessary due to the dollar value of goods and services bought by Government.
"The WA Government currently spends $6 billion annually on goods, services and infrastructure ranging from stationery to new roads and hospitals," he said.
"Government must recognise the potential impact on the WA economy of this level of buying and take purchasing decisions accordingly.
"Policies such as `Buying Wisely' recognise this and form the cornerstone for building a sound future for all Western Australians."
Mr Minson said the `Buying Wisely' document had the potential not only to increase value for money but to ensure a large part of the $6 billion stayed in the local community by making it incumbent on CEOs to consider social and regional effects of their purchasing and contracting decisions.
Purchasing had traditionally been regarded as a low priority, `back room' function which did not recognise the potential for major cost savings, improvements in quality and benefits to the private sector.
"‘Buying Wisely' provides a number of major benefits and improvements, including a consistent set of rules, greater access to agencies, more qualified buyers within Government and an avenue for appeal or assistance through the new-look State Supply Commission," the Minister said.
"This policy recognises the importance of intelligent buying and increased flexibility where the lowest price is not necessarily the best deal.
"Because so much is spent by Government in so many areas, we must recognise and be accountable for the cost savings and important economic and social gains which can be achieved through better buying practices.
"Through this policy the State Supply Commission has established four key principles throughout Government - integrity, continuing competition, intelligent buyers and active contract management.
"`Buying Wisely' also provides the private sector and the community with a tangible guide to monitoring Government performance and guidelines to providing goods and services."
Media contact: Caroline Lacy 222 9211