In the first sitting week of the ACT Legislative Assembly for 2015, I announced the government’s next reform- the introduction of a Local Industry Advocate to make sure that local businesses get a fair go in government procurement of goods, services and capital works.
Part of the Local Industry Advocate’s role will be to work with government directorates to ensure that work that can be done by local businesses stays in the region, building capability and economic activity in our city.
Local industry has told me they don’t need special advantages. Rather, they want a level playing field when they compete for government contracts.
I am pleased that the industry stakeholders with whom I have consulted have been very positive about the new role of Local Industry Advocate. They have provided feedback that this reform will improve business confidence, and as we know, improved confidence is an important economic indicator. When businesses are more confident, they are more likely to invest and employ staff.
The first job for the Local Industry Advocate will be to work with local industry to recommend where improvements can be made to government procurement processes.
In particular I would like the Advocate to identify areas where requests for tender, policies, and even legislation, are geared to larger companies. This makes it more difficult for smaller, local firms, which might have more innovative solutions to offer.
This announcement forms part of a suite of reforms the ACT Government is implementing to assist local businesses. One of my first decisions I made as Chief Minister was to establish a new ‘one-stop shop’ called Access Canberra- aimed at better connecting small and large businesses to government services.
Access Canberra aims to be a leader and enabler for businesses, to encourage our local organisations to innovate, invest and grow whilst continuing to provide appropriate protections for citizens and the community. While still in its early days, the service is available to small and large businesses, community groups and individuals seeking access to permits, approvals and licenses needed to establish a new business or event in the Territory.
During this establishment phase, Access Canberra is engaging with individuals and organisations to discuss how engagement with ACT Government directorates can be streamlined. Early feedback I have received has been very positive. Having an agency such as Access Canberra will enable us to quickly identify inefficient regulations and provide advice on changes to regulations that are needed.
Already Access Canberra is making a difference to business. Through co-operative work across many agencies the process of applying for outdoor eating permits has been made much easier for business. The ACT Government web page has a simple one click approach to finding out how to make an application if you are the owner of a business which is seeking outdoor dining options.
These are just two examples of how the Labor Government is making life easier for businesses in the ACT. I expect to see many more in the coming months as we continue to consult and engage with the sector.
phone: (02) 6205 0011
fax: (02) 6205 0157
email: [email protected]
post: GPO Box 1020 CANBERRA ACT 2601
Chief Minister of the Australian Capital Territory (ACT)