In a move that is likely to be echoed by public bodies around Australia, NSW Government agencies must use local businesses within the communities impacted by the bushfires wherever possible for clean-up, repair, rebuilding, remediation and enhancement works.
Published Tuesday 28th January, a Procurement Board Direction was issued by The Minister for Finance and Small Business, Damien Tudehope MLC, and the NSW Procurement Board to ensure that bushfire recovery funds support local businesses where this is achievable and to assist the economic recovery in bushfire affected areas.
With multiple NSW government agencies closely involved in bushfire response, management, clean up repairs and the rebuilding of damaged infrastructure, an unprecedented amount of goods and services will be sought from the construction sector and other areas. According to the direction:
“Beyond the immediate physical impacts, local economies and businesses are impacted by a decrease in visitor numbers and reduced business opportunities as projects or other funds are redirected to repairs and rebuilding. The bushfires have occurred in conjunction with a period of extreme drought that has also severely affected local economies and businesses.”
The Direction reinforces the fact that procurement has an important role to play in disaster recovery by ensuring recovery funds go back into the community through the use of local businesses. Without this business, local traders may have no other employment available and may be forced to leave the area in search of cash flow.
The Procurement Board has issued the following instructions:
- When engaging suppliers to conduct bushfire clean-up, repairs, rebuilding or remediation works, or to supply associated goods or services, NSW government agencies must give first preference to an appropriate Local Business based in the local government area in which the work is to be conducted.
- If no appropriate Local Business can be identified, or if a Local Business cannot complete the work within a reasonable timeframe, then the work may be allocated to another Regional Supplier (a Regional Supplier in NSW refers to all areas outside the Sydney, Wollongong and Newcastle metropolitan areas).
- Where no suitable Local Business or Regional Supplier is available, another suitable supplier may be used.
- For procurements in areas bordering other States and Territories, agencies may use their discretion in seeking quotes from any suitable supplier.
- If an agency is engaging a head contractor to undertake a project or program of works arising out of, in relation to or following the bushfires, the agency should, wherever possible, contractually require the head contractor to first consider Local Businesses to deliver associated goods or services.
- The underlying principles of value for money and probity must be maintained in applying this direction, with engagements subject to appropriate due diligence and adequate supplier performance. Suppliers must demonstrate they have the experience and capability to fulfil the contract and manage relevant risks, including work, health and safety risks.
Procurements covered by this direction are exempt from using whole of government contracts and mandated prequalification schemes. NSW Procurement is working to identify Local Businesses and Regional Suppliers on whole of government prequalification schemes to make it easier for agencies to identify suitable suppliers to carry out work envisaged under this direction. NSW Procurement is also establishing a Regional supplier list to assist agencies to identify and contact suitable suppliers.
- Read the NSW Procurement Direction here: https://arp.nsw.gov.au/pbd-2020-01-support-for-bushfire-affected-communities/
- Read about the Federal Government’s measures to support small business impacted by bushfires here: https://www.pm.gov.au/media/immediate-small-business-support-bushfire-affected-communities