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Monday, 7 March 2005
Page: 175


Senator Greig asked the Minister for the Arts and Sport, upon notice, on 25 November 2004:

With reference to the maintenance and conservation of the Commonwealth’s cultural and artistic property and art collection:

(1)   Are external or private contractors used by the Commonwealth in the maintenance and conservation of the Commonwealth’s cultural and artistic property and art collection: if so, is there a tendering system in place; if so, can a copy of the relevant documents for that tendering process be provided.

(2)   Does the Commonwealth maintain a register of preferred contractors for the maintenance and conservation of its cultural and artistic property and art collection; if so: (a) what eligibility criteria determine inclusion on the register; (b) are full-time or part-time Commonwealth or state public servants eligible to tender and/or be included on any register; and (c) can a copy of the register be provided.

(3)   Is it appropriate that part-time or full-time public servants are eligible to tender for Commonwealth contracts for the maintenance and conservation of the Commonwealth’s cultural and artistic property and art collection; if so, on what grounds.

(4)   Is the Minister aware of any full-time or part-time Commonwealth or state public servants being granted contracts for work on the Commonwealth’s cultural and artistic property and art collection.

(5)   Is the Minister satisfied that the tendering process for work on the maintenance and conservation of the Commonwealth’s cultural and artistic property and art collection is transparent, accountable and fair.

(6)   What insurance is required by external contractors before they are eligible to tender for work.

(7)   Are there any instance in which insurance requirements have been waived; if so (a) what criteria applied to such waiver(s); (b) how many external contractors in the past 5 years have had the insurance criteria waived; and (c) how many of these have been full-time or part-time Commonwealth or state public servants.

(8)   Has the Commonwealth reviewed insurance requirements for external contractors since the onset of the insurance industry crisis; if so, what was the outcome of that review.

(9)   Is consideration given to the impact of insurance requirements on the commercial viability of external contractors to bid for work maintaining and conserving the Commonwealth’s cultural and artistic property and art collection.

(10)   Are tenders for work on the Commonwealth’s cultural and artistic property and art collection consistent with the Commonwealth’s rules on tendering.

(11)   Is the code of practice of the Australian Institute for the Conservation of Cultural Materials (AICCM) relevant to how and when work is carried out on the Commonwealth’s cultural and artistic property and art collection; if so, what role does the AICCM code of practice or the AICCM itself, play in vetting external contractors granted contracts to supply goods or services to the Commonwealth.

(12)   Does national competition policy apply to individual Commonwealth and state and/or territory public servants in tendering for work to be done on the Commonwealth’s cultural and artistic property and art collection; if so, how.


Senator Kemp (Minister for the Arts and Sport) —The answer to the honourable senator’s question is as follows:

This response refers only to cultural and artistic property under the control or ownership of agencies within the Communications, Information Technology and the Arts portfolio. It does not include property or collections which are the responsibility of other Australian Government Agencies such as CSIRO, ANU or the Parliament House Art Collection.

(1)   Yes - Relevant portfolio agencies and organisations including National Archives of Australia, National Museum of Australia, National Library of Australia, Artbank, Old Parliament House/National Portrait Gallery, National Gallery of Australia, Australian Film Commission and Bundanon Trust use external or private contractors for maintenance and conservation of the Commonwealth’s cultural and artistic property and art collection. The extent to which agencies rely on external contractors varies substantially between agencies. Agencies take account of the Commonwealth Procurement Guidelines including use of a tendering system when required. Relevant portfolio agencies have indicated that providing copies of their tendering documents would be a resource intensive exercise.

(2)   No, the Commonwealth does not maintain a central register of preferred contractors for agencies within the portfolio. It is a matter for individual agencies to determine any requirements for maintaining a register.

(3)   Collaboration between agencies in the preservation and conservation of cultural and artistic property is encouraged. In respect of individual public servants, processes are determined by individual agencies with reference to the Commonwealth Procurement Guidelines or other relevant policies. While agencies may not specifically preclude public servants from submitting tenders, they would be required to disclose any conflict of interest.

(4)   No.

(5)   Yes, relevant portfolio agencies are required to take account of the Commonwealth Procurement Guidelines and relevant policies and report annually on the compliance requirements.

(6)   Relevant portfolio agencies advise that insurance requirements are determined in line with contract requirements, relevant policies and the nature of the work to be undertaken.

(7)   The relevant portfolio agencies advise that there have been no instances in which insurance requirements have been waived.

(a)   Not applicable

(b)   Nil

(c)   Not applicable

(8)   It is a matter for individual agencies to determine whether to review their insurance requirements having regard to relevant whole of government procurement and insurance policy frameworks.

(9)   Some individual agencies advise they have considered the impact of insurance.

(10)   Relevant portfolio agencies report on their compliance with Commonwealth procurements and competitive tendering requirements in their annual reports.

(11)   Yes, relevant portfolio agencies are guided by the AICCM code.

(12)   Yes, relevant portfolio agencies follow Australian Government competitive neutrality guidelines.