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Minister announces changes to Government contracting
29/03/2000 3:20 PM
Major improvements to the Government contracting system will deliver significant benefits to small and regional businesses throughout Western Australia, Works and Services Minister Rob Johnson said today.
Mr Johnson said he had carefully considered a review of the State Supply Commission Act by the Crown Solicitor and a report by a Ministerial Consultative Committee, chaired by Bob Bloffwitch MLA.
“Both reports offer recommendations to further enhance the effectiveness and accountability of the Government contracting environment,” Mr Johnson said.
“This contracting landscape should, above all, deliver value-for-money services to the people of WA and be conducive to the advancement of small and regional businesses in this State.”
The Crown Solicitor had recommended that the State Supply Commission Act be repealed and replaced by whole-of-Government contracting policies but Mr Johnson said the current legislative program was so tight, it could take months or even years before new laws were enacted.
Mr Johnson said he wanted to address fundamental issues outlined in the Crown Solicitor’s and Bloffwitch reports as quickly as possible.
“It has become clear following extensive consultations with the Crown Solicitor and others that almost all key issues can be adequately handled at an administrative level until such time as legislative options have been determined,” he said.
In view of the benefits to be gained from rapid reform, Mr Johnson has recommended a number of administrative changes. These include that:
the State Supply Commission Board act as a new Contracting Policy Advisory Council to advise the Minister on Government policies and instructions needed to support effective contracting;
the existing State Tenders Committee take on a wider role as proposed for the State Contracting Committee to review recommendations for high value or high risk contracts, to advise Government on specific contract issues and conduct investigations into contract and tender issues;
Contract and Management Services (CAMS) be responsible for continuing the contracting education and training agenda;
a process review panel be established to handle complaints; and -
any devolution of contracting authority to Government agencies - as recommended by the reviews - be contingent upon the establishment of a rigorous risk management and professional competency framework.
Mr Johnson said the State Supply Commission Board would be reinvigorated and given a mandate to work more closely with CAMS and the Department of Commerce and Trade in order to enhance the areas of contracting, small business and regional issues.
He said the board would also be charged with developing strategies that better utilised Government purchasing power to support small and regional businesses and therefore, create more jobs for Western Australians.
“I believe there is significant potential to facilitate the wider distribution of Government contracting opportunities throughout regional WA,” the Minister said.
Media contact: Fran Hodge (08) 9481 3244