The Queensland Government is on the hunt for a so-called “Regional Procurement Champion” to ensure suppliers around the state get a fair go when pitching for public sector work.
The move comes just weeks after Queensland Premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, revealed her government’s new multi-billion-dollar Queensland Procurement Strategy and Policy (QPP).
The new initiative will see the Queensland Government narrow its procurement net to heavily favour suppliers within the state.
The announcement came after Cabinet agreed the State Government would no longer be constrained or bound by free trade agreements that have seen jobs go off-shore or interstate.
“We will ignore restrictions that go against our interests,” Palaszczuk.
The “Buy Queensland” initiative will, from 1 September, see a “local supplier” defined as a business that maintains a workforce within a 125km radius of where the goods or workers are needed.
Currently, the Australia-New Zealand Government Procurement Agreement defines “local” as anywhere in Australia and New Zealand.
One of the action items in the new procurement strategy for the state was the appointment of an “advocate for regional Queenslanders through a regional procurement champion”.
Now, with the recruitment of the Regional Procurement Champion set to commence “shortly”, the state’s Minister for Housing and Public Works and Minister for Sport, Mick de Brenni, has stressed that he wants to give regional suppliers, and smaller businesses, an opportunity to pitch for public tenders.
“I am determined to make sure that regional businesses, especially small businesses make the most of their opportunity to get involved in Buy Queensland,” de Brenni said.
The Minister also said that the new “champion” will provide a high level voice for the regions across all procurement categories – including IT.
“They will be from a region and really understand what it’s like to run a business in regional Queensland,” he said. “I’ve talked to a lot of procurement professionals and small business owners across the regions and I am determined to make sure this regional expertise has a voice at the highest levels.”
Whoever is selected for the Regional Procurement Champion job will become a standing member of the Palaszczuk Government’s Procurement Industry Advisory Group.