Many different policies can impact on an agency's purchasing activities and some of these can also impact on persons or businesses that supply to Government. Some of the key policies are listed below.
Buy Local Policy
The Government's Buy Local Policy is aimed at increasing awareness of the requirements for, and benefits in, buying locally and improving access to Government contracts for small and medium enterprises. The Policy requires agencies to:
- undertake an assessment of the impact of the procurement on local suppliers to ensure those supplier are given even opportunity to participate and be successful in relation to the procurement;
- approach local suppliers to provide a quote or tender, where local capability exists;
- disaggregate substantial contracts/procurement opportunities unless the benefits of aggregation clearly outweigh the potential negative impact on local small and medium enterprise suppliers/the local economy;
- adopt a local benefits tests for all procurements with a value of more than $50 000, with mandatory evaluation criteria linked to information provided by suppliers as part of the procurement process; and
- ensure that a Tasmanian Industry Participation Plan is developed for high value procurements, as well as for high value private projects with Government funding.
Further information is contained in the publications, Buy Local Policy, Buy Locally - A Guide for Tasmanian Businesses and Tasmanian Industry Impact and Participation Policy and Guides.
Codes applicable to Building Construction / Roads and Bridges procurement
The Australian Standard Code of Tendering AS 4120-1994 is applied to all government building construction/road and bridges works valued at $10 000 or more. The standard sets outs the ethics and the obligations of the agency and tenderers in tendering in the construction industry. The Australian Standard Code of Ethics and Procedures for the Selection of Consultants AS 4121-1994 is applicable for the engagement of consultants.
For more information on these codes, see the SAI global website at www.saiglobal.com.
The Tasmanian Government has also committed to the implementation of the National Code of Practice for the Construction Industry, and the Tasmanian Annexure to the Code. Compliance is a condition of tender for all Tasmanian Government construction related projects.
If as a contractor, subcontractor, consultant or supplier you fail to comply, you may be:
- given a formal warning;
- partially excluded from tendering opportunities; or
- precluded from tendering for any work for a specified period.
The final sanction imposed will depend on the severity of the non-compliance. The sanctions can apply to a single government agency or on a government wide basis for more severe breaches.
All matters in relation to non-compliance with the Code are to be referred to the relevant agency officer in the first instance.
To view information on the Code please see the National Code of Practice and the Tasmanian Annexure.
Agencies are required to establish and maintain purchasing complaints processes to provide you with a formal outlet for making complaints. They are required to inform you of this process in quotation and tender documentation. See the complaints process for further information.
The Tasmanian Government is committed to ensuring that government contracting is conducted in an open and transparent manner and that unnecessary confidentiality provisions do not fetter scrutiny of contracts.
The Government's policy in relation to confidentiality provides that in any contract between the Crown and another party, confidentiality requirements in relation to the provisions of the contract are not to be included unless an exemption has been approved as being in the public interest. Where appropriate circumstances apply, an agency negotiating with a supplier may apply for an exemption from the policy requirements.
If you are unsuccessful in securing a contract, Government policy provides that you are entitled to a debriefing interview. See here for why debriefing is important.
To protect local industry and ensure that local businesses do not have to compete unfairly against overseas competitors, the Government has banned government agencies from purchasing "dumped goods", or goods that are suspected of being "dumped". See the page on Dumped Goods for further information.
Environmental and Climate Change Policies
The Government is committed to protecting the environment by avoiding products that are harmful to the environment and by avoiding waste. Where possible, preference is given to environmentally sound products. Further information is available from the page on Environmental Policy.
Free Trade Agreement and Cooperative Agreement participation
The Tasmanian Government, together with the Australian Government and all other State and Territory Governments, is bound by a number of free trade and cooperative arrangements. Some of those agreements and arrangements include specific Government procurement commitments. These are the:
- Australia and New Zealand Government Procurement Agreement;
- Australia - United States Free Trade Agreement;
- Australia - Chile Free Trade Agreement;
- Korea - Australia Free Trade Agreement; and
- Japan - Australia Economic Partnership Agreement.
Under these Agreements and arrangements, all suppliers from these countries, as well as all suppliers from other Australian jurisdictions, are to be given equal consideration. Government buyers cannot give preference to local suppliers or discriminate against suppliers from these places. Equally, government buyers from those countries are unable to preference their own local suppliers or discriminate against Tasmanian suppliers or products.
Performance Reporting - prequalified suppliers
The performance of prequalified contractors and prequalified consultants is required to be assessed, rated and the results recorded by agencies. These performance reports are accessible by government agencies for evaluating future contracting or consulting submission. Information on performance reporting will be provided in the procurement documentation and further information is available here.
Procuring from Businesses that Employ People with Disabilities
Government policy allows agencies, at their discretion, the flexibility of streamlining the procurement process when purchasing from businesses that predominantly exist to provide the services of persons with a disability, provided that the process undertaken is consistent with the intent of Government policy and the Purchasing Principles.
If you are an approved Australian Disability Enterprise (or for businesses outside of Australia's jurisdictions have a predominant proportion of employees with a disability or your predominant purpose is the provision of employment to persons with a disability), it is important to make sure that government buyers are aware of your business, service or products. The Australian Disability Enterprises website is a key marketing tool that all Australian Disability Enterprises can utilise to promote their products and services.
Information on the Government's policy is contained in the Treasurer's Instructions (refer specifically to TI 1127 and 1231).
Procuring from other Government Entities
Agencies are able to procure directly from another agency without undertaking a procurement process. However they can only accept offers from other government entities (such as Government Business Enterprises and State-owned Companies), where price has been calculated on a full cost attribution basis, unless there are no private sector suppliers. Full cost attribution ensures government entities recognise all of the costs that would normally be borne by the private sector-that is, direct costs plus overheads, taxes, fees and charges. If full cost attribution cannot be confirmed, then the offer must be declined.
Public Private Partnerships
A Public Private Partnership (PPP) is a method of procurement for social infrastructure projects and typically involves the government engaging the private sector to design, construction, finance and maintain social infrastructure, and deliver ancillary services, for a specific period. An agreed framework for the delivery of such projects has been prepared and endorsed by Infrastructure Australia and the State, Territory and Commonwealth Governments. These national guidelines are available on Infrastructure Australia's website.
Training Policy (building construction)
The Government's Building and Construction Training Policy applies to all government building and construction contracts with a value of $250 000 or more. The policy is available from the Skills Tasmania website.
Withholding tax and the Australian Business Number (ABN)
Government agencies will deal with suppliers whether or not they have an Australian Business Number (ABN). However, in accordance with Australian Taxation Office rules, if a supplier does not provide its ABN agencies will need to withhold tax at a specified rate under the Pay-As-You-Go (PAYG) withholding arrangements (unless the payment is exempt).
Zero Tolerance Towards Violence Against Any Person in the Workplace
The Government has a position of zero tolerance towards violence against women under the Safe Homes, Safe Families, Tasmania's Family Violence Action Plan.
With effect from 1 November 2016, the Government requires agencies to ensure that all procurement and associated contractual documents contain specific clauses supporting the Government's position. These clauses set expectations in relation to zero tolerance towards violence against any person in the workplace with respect to the behaviour of contractors engaged to provide works and services.
An information sheet for Contractors in relation to the zero tolerance policy is available here.