Push for lo­cal jobs, ten­ders

Broome Advertiser - - Front Page - Glenn Cord­ing­ley

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.”

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