Lo­cals lose out on busi­ness

Coun­cil awards ‘out of town’ con­tracts due to their avail­abil­ity The de­ci­sion to use ex­ter­nal sup­pli­ers ap­pears at odds with the coun­cil’s own mes­sag­ing, be­ing a ma­jor sup­porter of the Gat­ton Star’s Town Proud cam­paign, which en­cour­ages res­i­dents to sho

Gatton Star - - NEWS - DO­MINIC EL­SOME do­minic.el­[email protected]­ton­star.com.au

DE­SPITE back­ing a shop lo­cal cam­paign, the Lock­yer Coun­cil paid out nearly 80 per cent of its sup­plier fees to busi­nesses from out­side the re­gion.

More than $16 mil­lion of coun­cil funds has found its way into the pock­ets of non-lo­cal sup­pli­ers, while Lock­yer Val­ley busi­nesses have re­ceived less then $3m.

The stag­ger­ing sums were high­lighted in the Lock­yer Val­ley Re­gional Coun­cil’s pro­cure­ment re­port. the Lock­yer Val­ley,” Cr Mil­li­gan said.

“There re­ally is no need to look any­where else.”

But Fi­nances Port­fo­lio Coun­cil­lor Chris Wil­son de­fended the spend­ing, say­ing many of the sup­pli­ers coun­cil needed were not avail­able in the Lock­yer Val­ley.

“Some of coun­cil’s largest an­nual pro­cure­ment ex­penses are for highly-spe­cialised ser­vices such as waste collection, as­phalt works, en­ergy costs, heavy ma­chin­ery and cer­tain types of en­gi­neers,” Cr Wil­son said. “The avail­abil­ity of lo­cal sup­pli­ers within cer­tain pro­cure­ment cat­e­gories con­tin­ues to be our big­gest bar­rier in achiev­ing higher lo­cal-buy rates.”

In the July-septem­ber quar­ter, the coun­cil made pay­ments to sup­pli­ers of $11,398,698 - of which, just $1,955,748 went to lo­cal sup­pli­ers. It means lo­cal busi­nesses pock­et­ted just 17.16 per cent of the to­tal spent.

The Oc­to­ber-de­cem­ber quar­ter was like­wise one sided, with just $1,027,786 of the to­tal $7,739,596 spend stay­ing in the re­gion.

Cr Wil­son de­fended the ex­penses and said the coun­cil aimed to award con­tracts to lo­cal sup­pli­ers “wher­ever pos­si­ble”. “The coun­cil’s cur­rent pro­cure­ment pol­icy car­ries heav­ier weight­ing for lo­cal sup­pli­ers to en­sure they get the best op­por­tu­nity to se­cure con­tracts within a fair and eq­ui­table frame­work,” Cr Wil­son said. “Com­pul­sory state gov­ern­ment charges, state gov­ern­ment dis­as­ter man­age­ment levies, vi­tal wa­ter and sew­er­age ser­vices and in­fra­struc­ture and waste collection ser­vices all ta­ble as some of the largest non-lo­cal spends in the De­cem­ber quar­ter.”

Cr Wil­son said the coun­cil was work­ing with lo­cal busi­nesses to im­prove lo­cal buy rates.

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