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Wednesday, 31 August 1994
Page: 739

(Question No. 1524)

Senator Reid asked the Minister representing the Treasurer, upon notice, on 29 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 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 Cook —The Treasurer has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

  (1) Department of the Treasury

  The Department of the Treasury abides by the Purchasing Australia and Australian Government Publishing Service (AGPS) Guidelines when arranging the production of forms and client information publications.

  Australian Bureau of Statistics

  No. The ABS may use a single contractor to provide the services described where it was satisfied that the approach was appropriate, consistent with the Government's purchasing policies and met ABS confidentiality requirements.

  Australian Taxation Office

  Both areas within the ATO which are responsible for the production of national forms and client information publications follow standard procurement guidelines as issued by the Australian Government Publishing Service (AGPS).

  AGPS have confirmed that any printing firm is able to bid for jobs which AGPS procures. Firms need to approach AGPS to arrange this.

  In accordance with AGPS guidelines, there are some jobs where the printing and artwork is valued at less than $20,000 for which the ATO conducts its own tender process. This process is in strict accordance with Australian Government Purchasing Guidelines, and allows any firm regardless of size to bid for jobs.

  The ATO has no plans for altering these arrangements.

  Industry Commission

  The provision of occasional design, artwork preparation, printing, supply and distribution of forms and client information publications comprise only a minor portion of the Commission's printing and publishing activity. Where a requirement arises the work is/will be either undertaken in-house or contracted out to the private sector on the basis of value for money, after calling for quotations where appropriate.

  The publishing of inquiry reports and its Annual Report form the majority of the Commission's printing activity. This work is arranged through the Australian Government Publishing Service.

  Insurance and Superannuation Commission

  Purchasing areas in the Insurance and Superannuation Commission indicate that they abide by Purchasing Australia Guidelines in regard to the printing of forms and client information publications.

  Prices Surveillance Authority

  Yes, the PSA provides such an assurance. We procure this type of work as needed.

  Reserve Bank of Australia

  The Reserve Bank of Australia has in-house facilities which meet the bulk of its needs for design, artwork preparation, printing, supply and distribution of forms and customer information publications. Where these arrangements cannot provide the required services, a variety of external contractors, ranging from small to large in size, is employed on the basis of competitive quotes. In all such cases, tendering is in accordance with the Commonwealth Government's procurement policies. In the case of certain numismatic products from Note Printing Australia, another Commonwealth agency is used as a single contractor to undertake design, artwork, printing, etc; otherwise Note Printing Australia's practices are as outlined for the rest of the Bank.

  Royal Australian Mint

  The Royal Australian Mint selects from a small panel of contractors for design, artwork and printing. The Mint uses DAS common-use contract BG88 for distribution domestically and DAS common-use contract BG150 for overseas distribution.

  Trade Practices Commission

  The Trade Practices Commission can give the undertaking sought above. The Commission will not call on a single contractor to provide the services detailed in the question.

  (2) & (3) I refer the honourable senator to the answer to question number 1538 by the Minister for Administrative Services.