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Liberals Local Benefit Test Comitment Queried

Kim Booth

Kim Booth  -  Thursday, 17 July 2014

Tags: Public Service

The Hodgman regime needs to clarify whether it has breached its own election commitment to require Local Benefits Tests are conducted on government contracts with the recent awarding of contracts worth $300, 000 to interstate companies.

“The Liberals’ election commitment, ‘Disaggregate government contracts’, accused the previous government of ignoring local businesses and firms ‘in favour of interstate competitors for relatively minor savings’, yet we now discover that the so-called Department of State Growth has provided $300, 000 worth of contracts to interstate firms,” Greens Leader and Treasury spokesperson Kim Booth MP said.

“This election commitment touted the need to disaggregate government contracts to increase the opportunity of local smaller firms successfully applying to tender, but in this instance of the four $100, 000 contracts available only one was awarded locally.”

“The Liberals’ 100 Days Implementation Plan also undertakes to instruct Treasury to implement the Local Benefits Test, which begs the question whether that occurred with these State Growth contracts?”

“Currently we have the Hodgman regime threatening the employment of over 1000 public servants on the basis that there are too many, yet on the other hand the Liberals are out-sourcing to interstate companies work either our public sector, or local firms could be doing.”

 “It is extraordinary that within 16 days of the new so-called Department of State Growth formally coming into existence, it has set up the possibility of sending $300, 000 of taxpayers’ money out of the state and out of the local economy.  This is an utterly Orwellian situation.”

“The Greens are calling on the Treasurer, Peter Gutwein, to confirm whether Treasury did conduct a Local Benefits Test for each of these four contracts, and if so to release those assessments publicly.”

“It is not sufficient for the Liberals to try and justify these tenders on the basis that these interstate companies may have a presence in Tasmania if there isn’t a guarantee that the contract work will be undertaken by the local arm.  Nor does it explain why the external consultancies are needed in the first place rather than have the work done by local public sector workers, ” Mr Booth said.