Central Highlands Regional Council has outlined changes to purchasing arrangements to help local businesses tap into larger projects.
Speaking at the Investing in our Future conference recently in Emerald, council chief executive officer Scott Mason said the big news
was that the council was embedding, where it could, local contractors and suppliers into large contracts to keep dollars
“All tenderers for contracts greater than $200,000 must give a commitment to spend 20 per cent of their tender price
in the local region and must explain how that is going to be achieved,’ Mr Mason said.
“We are, in fact, using geography to inform our purchasing decisions and, as far as we know, we are the first
Queensland council to do so.
“In essence, it means that if your business is registered in the locality where the work is and you use local personnel,
goods and services then you’re in the most advantageous position to win the work.
“We’ve had no option except to go down this path because, in a region the size of this one, it’s unfair to think that
everyone can compete for every job and every contract wherever the work is taking place.”
Councillors were demonstrating real leadership by amending the local preference policy and really examining
where the council spent locally, he said.
Mr Mason said that the council was now spending 40 per cent of its eligible spend in the local economy.
“Two-thirds of our $20 million spend so far this year has been local and more than 60 per cent of our purchase orders
are less than $100,000, which means more opportunities for local business,” he said.
“Times have changed and all businesses, including council, are having to become leaner. The council is lucky to have the
fiscal flexibility to support the local business fraternity, which we are doing and we’ll continue to get better at doing,” he said.
“In saying that, it is equally important that we are all vigilant to ensure our pricing and cost structures are as competitive as possible; not only to stay in business, but to prosper.”