The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation, representing the Minister for Administrative Services, a question about the state procurement bill.
The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: The government’s state procurement bill was tabled in the House of Assembly on 12 November 2003. In his second reading explanation, the minister stated that the objective of the bill is to:
. . . modernise the legislation to take account of the increased complexity of today’s relationships between the government and the private sector.
I emphasise ‘the government and the private sector’. The government has acknowledged that the previous Liberal government amended the State Supply Act 1985, but the Labor Party had concerns which it raised in October 2001.
They are as follows:
. . . no comprehensive across-government policies and procedures. . . had been developed. . .
Presumably, in government, this is what the Labor Party thinks it has done. I have been contacted by people in the community services sector, which falls under the responsibility of the Minister For Social Justice, who believe that their specific concerns regarding the appropriateness of the application of the new bill were not able to be incorporated because nobody asked for their opinion. These are concerns that relate to issues specific to the community services sector (I cite aged care and foster care as two good examples), whereby contracts are not just about the price per unit of service but a whole range of complex issues regarding quality of service delivery and client outcomes.
I am informed that, within the Department for Human Services, the Strategic Procurement Unit was consulted and its views incorporated but that neither the Minister for Social Justice nor any unit within her department (such as housing or FAYS) were consulted. My questions to the minister are:
1. Did the government actually consult with all sections of the government affected by this bill before tabling it in parliament last year?
2. Did the government consult the Social Inclusion Unit?
3. Have any non-government organisations expressed concerns or reservations about this bill?
4. Have any of the above-mentioned sought amendment to the bill?
The Hon. T.G. ROBERTS (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation): I will refer that question to my colleague in another place and bring back a reply.
Thursday 22 July 2004
In reply to Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK (24 February).
The Hon. T.G. ROBERTS: The Minister for Administrative Services has provided the following information:
The Department for Administrative and Information Services consulted with representatives from every portfolio across government including key agencies outside of these portfolios. Chief Executives were asked to nominate appropriate people from their agencies for this consultation process. A total of 22 agencies were consulted.
The Department for Administrative and Information Services consulted with the Department of Human Services, which at the time had, and for an interim period will continue to have, jurisdiction for the procurement operations of those entities that now comprise the new Department of Social Justice. The Department of Human Services provided comment that was supportive of the new legislation. Government consulted with key groups such as Business SA, the IT Council, the Local Government Association, the United Trades and Labor Council (UTLC) and the Public Service Association.
None of these organisations expressed concerns or reservations about the Bill and were generally supportive of the new legislation.
Business SA and the UTLC suggested that section 7 of the bill be changed to recognise Business SA as the peak employer's body and that a UTLC nominee be specifically included. The preferred position is for board membership to be based on the knowledge and expertise of members, not on their association to an industry group or a union body.