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Wednesday, 10 February 1999
Page: 2402

Mr Martin Ferguson asked the Minister for Employment Services, upon notice, on 11 November 1998:

(1) What is the period of contract for each organisation participating in the Job Network.

(2) When will the Department release tender notices for the next round of contracts.

(3) What was the cost of the tender process to the Department.

(4) How was the cost apportioned and was it subsumed within the Budget allocation for this tender round.

(5) What additional costs did the Department incur as a result of companies and organisations rejecting the Department's tender offer and how many tender offers were rejected.

(6) What is the Budget allocation for the next round of tendering.

(7) How many participants selected to take part in the Job Network have subcontracted their work to other organisations;

(8) With respect to each participant referred to in part (7), (a) who is the participant, (b) in which regions was the participant contracted to supply services, (c) what level of flex services was the participant contracted to supply, (d) what are the names of the subcontracting companies or organisations who will complete the work, (e) has his Department approved each subcontracted company or organisation, (f) has his Department agreed to allow the participant to retain a portion of the sum provided under the original contract; if so, what is the (i) name of the participant, and (ii) sum being retained in each case, (g) what additional costs did his Department incur as a result of the participant subcontracting work won in the initial tender process, and (h) will his Department allow the participant to submit tender proposals in subsequent rounds.

Mr Abbott (Employment Services) —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) The period of contract is from 1 May 1998 to 30 November 1999. However, there are contracts with eight organisations which commenced on a later date. The commencement dates of the eight contracts are listed below.

1.—11 May 1998; 2.—15 May 1998; 3,—15 May 1998; 4.—21 May 1998; 5.—22 May 1998; 6.—22 May; 1998; 7.—1 June 1998; 8.—19 June 1998.

These contracts also conclude on 30 November 1999. As announced on 16 December 1998, current Job Network members have been offered contract extensions to 27 February 2000. This contract extension does not apply to New Apprenticeship Centres.

(2) No final decision has yet been made on the release date for the next Request for Tender.

(3) and (4) The cost of the tender cannot be separately identified as it was distributed over a number of Divisions and State Offices of the former Department of Employment, Education, Training and Youth Affairs that had responsibility for other functions at the same time. There were also some additional indirect costs, for example, in information technology support, which cannot be separated from other corporate support services.

(5) The Department incurred no additional running costs. Sixty seven tenderers rejected the offer of contracts.

(6) Program costs are estimated to be approximately $1 billion in each of the financial years 1999-2000 to 2002-2003. Running costs for the tender cannot be separately identified at this stage, as they are part of the total allocation for the portfolio within such areas as the Employment Services Market Group, the Labour Market Programs and Services Group, the Systems Group, the Labour Market Policy Group and State Offices of the Department of Employment, Workplace Relations and Small Business.

(7) As at 9 January 1999, subcontracting arrangements under the Employment Services Contract had been approved for 44 Job Network members. All but two of these Job Network members have subcontracted part of their business only.

(8) (a)—(d) Details of contracts awarded to Job Network members are commercial-in-confidence, including any approved subcontracting arrangements.

(e) Yes.

(f) Commercial arrangements, in respect of subcontracting, are negotiated between the individual Job Network member and the subcontractor. The Commonwealth is not a party to these negotiations and does not collect information regarding these commercial arrangements.

(g) Nil

(h) The tender process is designed to promote fair competition in the open market. Future tenders will be assessed against tendering conditions set out in the next Request for Tender document.