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Wednesday, 1 September 1993
Page: 848

(Question No. 345)

Senator O'Chee asked the Minister representing the Minister for Industry, Technology and Regional Development, upon notice, on 17 August 1993:

  (1) When will the Australian Customs Service finalise the tender program for Coastwatch.

  (2) What is the proposed timetable for:(a) requests for proposals; (b) requests for tenders; (c) tender evaluation; and (d) contract award.

  (3) What are the details of the process to be used in the calling of tenders and when does the Government hope to finalise an order of costs.

Senator Schacht —The answer to the honourable senator's question is as follows:

  (1) Details of the next Coastwatch tender will be announced following budgetary and other considerations by the Government. The program which will apply for the forthcoming Coastwatch contract is being formalised between Australian Customs Service (ACS) and Department of Arts and Administrative Services (DAS) in accordance with the Government's Procurement Guideline No. 5 specifically as it relates to Staged Procurement.

  (2) At this stage it is proposed that the timetable of the tender process will be as follows:

  Request for Proposals—3 months—close 31/1/94

  Negotiation of Proposals—3 weeks—close 21/2/94

  Best and Final Offers—1 month—close 15/3/94

  Evaluation Process—3 months—close 15/6/94

  Prepare Contract—1 month—close 15/7/94

  (3) The process will involve the DAS inviting "Requests for Proposals" (RFP) on behalf of the ACS. At that time a Task Requirement prepared by Customs Coastwatch will be released thus specifying the nature and extent of the service required. An industry briefing will be conducted to explain the requirements and to facilitate feedback to potential bidders. Proponents will be invited to bid in terms of a 5, 7 and 9 year contract.

  A two tier evaluation process will be implemented at the technical and senior management levels. Staff from both DAS and ACS with appropriate and relevant commercial and aviation expertise will work in these groups and will be supplemented by officials from outside agency(s) to be engaged on a needs basis. The selection criteria and processes to be followed in the evaluation will be publicised at the time proposals are invited and will also be explained at the industry briefing.

  In respect of estimated cost, this will depend on a number of factors including the contract length, hardware offered and the supporting infrastructure bidders believe necessary for the contract. The inherent uncertainty of tendering also makes estimating a very imprecise science. It is envisaged that a statement on cost will be made at the time the RFP is published.