Push for local jobs, tenders
Business leaders in Broome have welcomed a move to link State Government regional contracts with local suppliers and builders.
Staff representing a newly formed Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development will have dedicated local content officers and online portals to maximise tender and job opportunities in their regions.
The DPIRD consists of WA’s nine regional development commissions, including the Kimberley Development Commission, as well as the former departments of agriculture and food, and fisheries.
The RDCs have remained in their respective areas under the merger, which was announced by Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan earlier this month.
Broome Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Peter Taylor said the change demonstrated an understanding of an issue that had not been properly addressed to date.
“Cumulatively, every dollar spent and every job created in Broome has a huge positive impact on the local economy and every dollar spent elsewhere shrinks that economy,” he said. “There needs to be much more emphasis on the overall value of the spend to the community rather than just the price.”
Mr Taylor said an increase in transparency and reporting of local content would ensure taxpayers’ money was spent more wisely and where it would have the most impact.
“Whilst there are many very capable businesses based in Broome providing year-round employment, it is often difficult to compete with businesses from interstate and the city, which cherry pick regional tenders and put very little back into the community,” he said.
“For too long, some government departments have not focused enough on ensuring tenders and projects are designed in a way to give regionally based businesses an opportunity to compete effectively.”
Training for the new positions will begin this month, with a focus on identifying opportunities for
local supply to government agencies and ensuring local businesses are given the best shot at tendering for government projects.
New portals on RDC websites are aimed at giving regional businesses and jobseekers easier access to information about State Government jobs and local project tenders.
Regionally based businesses represent less than 20 per cent of total suppliers to government and receive less than six per cent of the value of government contracts.
Ms MacTiernan said steps were being taken “to give some grunt” to local content policies in the regions.
“We want to make it possible for regional businesses to compete for government tenders so they can employ more local workers, helping to spur job and career development opportunities in communities,” Ms MacTiernan said.
“We urgently need to drive more business to regional WA, and these projects are part of this Government’s commitment to promoting economic diversity and jobs growth in our regions.”