UNDER REVIEW: Contractors at work on the $2.8 million Youth Precinct yesterday, at the site of the Memorial Pool. Gympie Regional Council is re-examining how it awards contracts and manages its major projects in an effort to strengthen its
UNDER REVIEW: Contractors at work on the $2.8 million Youth Precinct yesterday, at the site of the Memorial Pool. Gympie Regional Council is re-examining how it awards contracts and manages its major projects in an effort to strengthen its "buy local” policy. Troy Jegers

Win for Gympie business as council looks at tender process

A PROPOSED change to one word could be a big win for Gympie businesses that apply for work with the council.

Gympie Regional Council staff revealed yesterday they were taking a closer look at strengthening their Procurement Policy on buying local, an area where they have come under fire from businesses and the community in the past.

Staff said one "significant change” could be achieved with a tweak to the local preference clause, shifting it from council "may consider” businesses that support the local economy and are environmentally friendly to "will consider”.

Other key criteria would still need to be met for a tenderer to win the contract.

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It was not the only suggestion on the drawing board, with staff admitting there was room for improvement.

"Can we do better with project management?” one staff member said.

"We certainly can across the board.”

Councillor Glen Hartwig asked if there was any way to "monitor” whether contractors who won and said they would use local businesses to deliver the job actually followed through with the promise.

He pointed to the Gympie Youth Hub as an example; concreting at the site had been done by Nambour-based Cordwell Concrete.

Gympie Youth Hub.
Gympie Youth Hub. Gympie Regional Council

"Is there a mechanism in place to ensure they're doing what they should be doing?”

CEO Bernard Smith said it was an issue to be "taken into consideration in the future”.

Of course, not every Gympie business was taking advantage of the opportunities open to them.

Mayor Mick Curran agreed the council "can always do better”, but it was a balancing act.

"If we're going to look at local... the expectations are the costs will go up,” he said.

"We're supposed to be providing value for money for ratepayers.”

Council's project management is under review.
Council's project management is under review. Renee Albrecht

And some businesses were not yet positioned to capitalise on the opportunities the council had available.

"I know for a fact there's businesses operating in the region who aren't on our procurement lists and they could be,” Cr Curran said.

A staff member said plans were in the works to expand those lists.

They included a series of sessions with Gympie businesses to highlight the benefits of doing business with the council and "help local businesses understand our process”.

Further development could also be done to projects before they reached councillors.

"It may take longer to go from inception to presentation,” the staff member said.

Gympie Times


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