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Thursday, 25 August 1994
Page: 459

(Question No. 1538)


Senator Reid asked the Minister representing the Minister for Administrative Services, upon notice, on 30 June 1994:

  (1) Can an assurance be given that the department and its agencies or statutory authorities will not call for a single contractor to provide occasional design, artwork preparation, printing, supply and distribution of forms and client information publications, thereby excluding small and medium enterprises from tendering.

  (2) In the event of the purchasing of (1) being reviewed by the Department and its agencies or statutory authorities, will an undertaking be given to give due recognition to initiatives outlined in the recent Report of the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology entitled Australian Government Purchasing Policies in relation to: (a) industry development criterion; (b) comprehensive pre-tender ANZ supplier briefing procedure; and (c) an industry impact statement for the period of the contract(s).

  (3) Will a proportion of the department and its agencies or statutory authorities requirements under (1) be set aside for small to medium enterprises; if so, what proportion; if not, why not.


Senator McMullan —The Minister for Administrative Services has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question.

  (1) Yes.

  (2) Departments, agencies and statutory authorities will act in accordance with the initiatives relating to Government purchasing announced in the recent White Paper on Employment and Growth. The White Paper represents a partial response to the recommendations of the Report of the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology entitled Australian Government Purchasing Policies: Buying Our Future (Bevis Report). The Government is currently considering its formal response to the Report's recommendations not addressed in the White Paper. This response will be tabled in Parliament as soon as practicable.

  (a) The White Paper stated that a Government objective is to use its purchasing to maximise opportunities for Australian and New Zealand industry development through the extension of industry development criteria in purchasing decisions. In line with this emphasis, the White Paper announced a number of measures to ensure that Government agencies undertake a more rigorous examination of potential industry development outcomes in their purchasing decisions. The initiatives include:

  a requirement to develop an industry impact statement for major acquisitions (valued at more than $10 million) not covered by common use contracts arrangements. Industry impact statements will facilitate a more rigorous examination of the industry development opportunities associated with larger acquisitions and will include a statement of small and medium enterprise involvement.

  the implementation of a two envelope tendering system for acquisitions over $10 million (one envelope will address product specifications and an offer price with the second envelope addressing industry development opportunities).

  (b) The Commonwealth Procurement Guidelines provide guidance to departments, agencies and statutory authorities on procurement principles and practice. This includes that suppliers are made aware, as early as possible, of planned procurement through early briefings. The importance and value of this approach has recently been re-emphasised in the context of the White Paper initiatives.

  It is noted that the Bevis Report recommends that all projects over $5 million have comprehensive pre-tender ANZ supplier briefing procedures. The Government will consider this recommendation as part of its formal response to the Bevis Report recommendations not addressed in the White Paper.

  (c) See response to question 2(a).

  (3) No. There are a number of issues raised in the Bevis Report that the Government will not take further. The small business set aside program has been addressed in a different way through the adoption of a number of other initiatives described in the White Paper (e.g. Endorsed Supplier and Australian Suppliers Information Program initiatives).