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Notice given 26 March 2007

3070  Senator Carr: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Health and Ageing—With reference to the answer to question on notice no. 2490 (Senate Hansard , 30 November 2006, p. 196):

(1) With reference to the Request for Quote (RFQ) issued by the department on 2 June 2005 relating to the supply of equipment to constitute 100 000 PanFlu VacPacs: (a) what were the selection criteria for tenderers; (b) who were the selected tenderers, other than Crystal Healthcare; (c) on what dates were these tenderers first approached; (d) if Crystal Healthcare was part of the select number of companies approached, what are the documented reasons for not including them at the Expression of Interest (EOI) stage; (e) what were the circumstances that led to the decision to subsequently approach Crystal Healthcare; and (f) did the correspondence to other tenderers indicate that procurement may be split.

(2) With reference to the indication of the Minister in the answer to question on notice no. 2490 that the invitation to Crystal Healthcare to submit a tender was not because there had been a poor response at the EOI stage and the denial that this information had been communicated to Crystal Healthcare by an officer of the department: (a) why was Crystal Healthcare contacted by the department by telephone after the EOI stage; (b) was this contact unsolicited; if so, what was the reason for the contact; (c) why was the company not required to submit a Statement of Capability in response to the RFQ; and (d) why was the company awarded a contract for the initial supply, despite not having submitted a Statement of Capability, without being required to follow Commonwealth Procurement Guidelines (CPGs), such as proper evaluation of financials, ability to deliver and technical capability.

(3) With reference to the Financial Management and Accountability (FMA) Regulation 8(2) as stated at 7.12 of the CPGs which requires an official who takes action that is inconsistent with the CPGs to make a written record of reasons for doing so, can the following be provided: (a) the written record explaining why the preferred supplier was not selected from those who responded to the original EOI; (b) reasons why Crystal Healthcare was selected without any analysis against a set of selection criteria; and (c) the original procurement plan approved for the above procurement before any approach was made to the market.

(4) With reference to the answer to paragraph (4) of question on notice no. 2490, in which the department confirmed that it awarded a contract to Crystal Healthcare by telephone on 3 June 2005, was there any indication to Crystal Healthcare at that time that the contract would be split; if so, can evidence be provided of this explanation.

(5) Can the department confirm that it continually asked Crystal Healthcare for assurances that it would be able to deliver the full contract of 100 000 packs within 4 weeks of the contract being signed; if so: (a) did Crystal Healthcare provide these assurances; and (b) was Crystal Healthcare subsequently informed that it had been awarded the contract because it could deliver within the specified timeframes.

(6) While the department now cites cost factors as a reason for its contract decisions, can the Minister confirm that this was not an issue at the time of contract discussions and that the department was concerned, rather, with the capacity to deliver on time.

(7) Can documents be provided that indicate the strategy developed by the department to respond to the threat of an outbreak, and the criteria for engagement of companies to deliver the vaccine.

(8) Can the department confirm that Crystal Healthcare was advised by two officers of the department, between 3 June and 5 June 2005, that Crystal Healthcare had been awarded the contract; if so, what are the precise details of their advice to Crystal Healthcare.

(9) With reference to the answers to paragraphs (6) and (12) of question on notice no. 2490, in which the Minister advised at (6) that at ‘at no stage did the Department indicate that Crystal Healthcare was to commence work immediately’ and at (12) that ‘equipment was required rapidly, the decision was made to procure the first 2 000 packs immediately’, which of these two statements is accurate.

(10) (a) Given that section 8.31 of the CPGs requires agencies to provide sufficient time for potential suppliers to make a submission, and advises that this should not be less than 10 days unless a genuine emergency renders that time limit impractical, and the answer to paragraph (9) of question on notice no. 2490 that urgency did not exist, why was Crystal Healthcare given only 1 day to respond to the RFQ; and (b) in accordance with FMA Regulation 8(2), can all documentation be provided that details the reasons for the department’s decision to give Crystal Healthcare only 1 day to respond.

 

 (11) Can the Minister confirm that correspondence dated 6 June 2005 from the Acting Assistant Secretary, Biosecurity and Disease Control Branch, confirmed that the department had accepted Crystal Healthcare’s quotation for the supply of the material referred to in the proposal; if so, where in that letter is there an indication that the department was not proceeding with the full RFQ.

(12) Why does the correspondence of the Acting Assistant Secretary refer to an ‘initial order’ and to the original EOI and RFQ if the decision to split the order had already been made by the department.

(13) How and when did the department indicate to Crystal Healthcare that it was not proceeding with the entire contract.

(14) Can documentation be provided that confirms that it was the department’s intention not to proceed with the full contract prior to confirming the provision of PanFlu VacPacs with Crystal Healthcare.

(15) Why did the RFQ provided to Crystal Healthcare not indicate such a decision but instead referred specifically to ‘an initial supply’ and then to the fact that ‘the remaining items do not need to be placed in… VacPacs… requests to form the PanFlu VacPacs will be made at a later time’.

(16) Did the department fully comply with the CPGs and all other guidelines, regulations and required procedures when it awarded Crystal Healthcare the contract over the telephone on 3 June 2005.

(17) Is it normal practice for the department to issue a purchase order without a signed contract; if so: (a) can recent examples of this circumstance be provided; and (b) what are the details in each of these cases.

(18) Is it the case that between 3 June and 4 June 2005 there was contact, on a number of occasions, between an officer of the department, and Mr Roger Bullen, a director of Crystal Healthcare, about a discrepancy in the number of gloves referred to in the RFQ; if so: (a) can the Minister confirm that Mr Bullen was advised that the number of gloves to be supplied for the initial order was 2 000 000 rather than 1 000 000 and that the total number of gloves to be supplied was 100 000 000; (b) how does this advice correspond with the statement of the department that it was only proceeding with the initial order; and (c) can the Minister provide the log telephone conversations with Mr Bullen on 3 June and 4 June 2005.

(19) Did Crystal Healthcare receive misleading advice.

(20) Can minutes or other documents be provided that demonstrate that the decision to split the order had already been made.

(21) Why was not the department’s position clarified in accordance with the CPGs.

(22) Can the Minister explain the discrepancy between the answer to question on notice no. 2490 at paragraph (10) and the RFQ provided to Crystal Heathcare that clearly anticipates that the same supplier would provide the initial 2 000 VacPacs and provide further VacPacs ‘on delivery as stock rotation may be required if long term storage occurs’.

(23) Can the Minister confirm that the RFQ referred only to a single supplier and does not refer to two contracts, that is an initial contract and a subsequent contract with an undetermined supplier.

 

 (24) Did the process by which the department issued an RFQ on 2 June 2005 that referred to the awarding of one contract for the supply of the relevant equipment and then, by e-mail dated 9 June 2005, after the contract had been awarded to Crystal Healthcare on 3 June 2005 under the RFQ of 2 June 2005, indicate that the department was seeking to revise the tender requirements and/or re-tender comply with the CPGs.

(25) What precisely were the ‘emerging priorities’ referred to in an e-mail from an officer of the department dated 9 June 2005.

(26) Can the Minister explain on what basis or grounds the department can revise tender requirements or re-tender after: (a) the contract had been awarded to Crystal Healthcare; and (b) the closing date in the RFQ, which was advertised as 3 June 2005.

(27) With reference to the e-mail received by Crystal Healthcare on 9 June 2005 from an officer of the department that referred to ‘complexities that came to light on Friday, 3 June 2005’: (a) what were, or are, these complexities; and (b) why were these complexities not communicated to Crystal Healthcare by the department immediately, or at any other time, as required by section 8.3 of CPGs.

(28) Why did officers of the department continue to deal with Crystal Healthcare until 9 June 2005 on the basis that the contract had been awarded to it and the supply of equipment to the timeframes specified by the department was critical.

(29) Why did the RFQ issued on 9 June 2005 fail to provide any indication or information about the complexities that justified the re-tendering.

(30) Given that Crystal Healthcare’s pricing for the initial supply of 2 000 VacPacs was based on the RFQ details provided by the department, can the Minister explain following the departments decision to re-tender: (a) why Crystal Healthcare was not given the opportunity to resubmit its pricing for the 2 000 PanFlu VacPacs; and (b) why the department decided against re-tender for the 2 000 PanFlu VacPacs.

(31) With reference to the answer to paragraph (12) of question on notice no. 2490 on the timing of the decision to revise the tender arrangements, can all internal records and communications, including minutes of meetings, correspondence, e-mails, tender assessments and other reports relating to the comparison and evaluation of the tenders be provided.

(32) (a) With reference to the answer to paragraph (12)(b) of question on notice no. 2490, if the tenders were ‘so dissimilar as to prevent any meaningful comparison’, ‘particularly for storage costs’: (i) why did not the department on 3 June 2005 re-tender before awarding the contract to Crystal Healthcare, (ii) why was Crystal Healthcare awarded the contract on 3 June 2005, (iii) why were the other tenderers unsuccessful in respect to the original RFQ, (iv) why was not the issue of storage or storage costs raised with Crystal Healthcare by the department, and (v) what communications were issued by the department in relation to storage or storage costs to other tenderers; (b) for each of the subparagraphs above, can copies of all correspondence or other communications sent by the department to other tenderers on these issues be provided; and (c) if storage and storage costs were an issue, why did the specifications in the RFQ issued on 9 June 2005 not change.

(33) Can the Minister provide copies of all material relating to the evaluation of Crystal Healthcare’s response to the RFQ dated 9 June 2005.

 

 (34) Why was Crystal Healthcare not invited to re-submit its proposal based on the department’s claimed change in tender specifications relating top storage.

(35) With reference to the RFQ of 9 June 2005 that required storage in an Australian capital city: (a) is it the case that in order for the department to comply with the CPGs, it should have communicated a change in the storage requirement specifications to all tenderers before the close of the tender; if so, why did the department fail to do so; (b) on what date was the department first asked by any tenderer to consider storage outside a capital city; and (c) did the tenderer Cleanroom Garments comply with the capital city requirement in its response to the RFQ dated 2 June 2005, and the RFQ dated 9 June 2005; if so can documentary evidence of this compliance be provided.

(36) Is it the case that between 9 June 2005 and 27 September 2005, when a faxed letter was received indicating that Crystal Healthcare had been unsuccessful, departmental officers continued to represent to Crystal Healthcare that its proposal was still being considered by the department; if so: (a) can full details be provided from departmental logs or other records of all contact between the department and Crystal Healthcare between those two dates; (b) why was Crystal Healthcare not informed earlier, when a decision had clearly been made; and (c) was Crystal Healthcare given misleading advice.

3072  Senator Siewert: To ask the Minister for Fisheries, Forestry and Conservation—

(1) (a) Can the Minister provide, for each of the 11 zones across the four sectors of the Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery (SESSF), the following figures for the orange roughy: (i) target quota, (ii) bycatch quota, and (iii) trigger limit; and (b) for each of the above categories, will the Minister identify: (i) where each of the quotas and/or trigger limits are published, and (ii) how the quantities were determined.

(2) Is it the case that the East Coast Deepwater trawl sector has been identified as having an orange roughy trigger limit in the Orange Roughy Conservation Programme, published by the Australian Fisheries Management Association (AFMA) on 7 December 2006; if so, why does the Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery (non-quota species) Total Allowable Catch (2007 Fishing Year) Determination (cited as 2007 SESSF D2), made under section 15 of the SESSF Management Plan 2003, allocate a 50 tonne bycatch quota.

(3) Can the Minister explain whether the Orange Roughy Conservation Plan Workshop to be hosted by the AFMA in Melbourne on 12 April 2007 is open to participants other than orange roughy quota holders; if not, why not.

3073  Senator Siewert: To ask the Minister representing the Treasurer—Can the Minister provide, for each year since 1990, by state and territory, the number of grocery stores and supermarkets in Australia.