Minister asks for more details after LGAQ, contract petition

THE ability for councils to enter contracts without first asking for written quotes will be investigated after an order by the Local Government minister.

Stirling Hinchliffe has asked his department to investigate the issue and provide a brief.

Under section 234 of the local government regulation councils can enter into a contract for goods and services without first inviting written quotes or tenders if the contract is entered into under an arrangement through the Local Government Association.

A petition handed to Mr Hinchliffe and signed by 439 people requested an inquiry into the LGAQ and its company Peak Services.

In responding to the petition Mr Hinchliffe said an inquiry into the LGAQ and Peak Services is not being considered.

Peak Services was the company involved in the controversial Ipswich call centre agreement.

He has pledged to gather more information on councils' ability to enter into contracts without written tenders.

"Whether a Local Government uses a register of pre-qualified suppliers or a preferred supplier arrangement established by the LGAQ or Peak Services when entering into a contract for goods or services is a matter solely for the Local Government concerned," Mr Hinchliffe wrote.

"Nonetheless, I have asked the Department of Local Government, Racing and Multicultural Affairs to give serious consideration to the issue raised by the petitioners in relation to section 234 and to provide me with a briefing as to whether amendments to the current arrangements are desirable.

"In preparing the briefing material, I have asked the Department to have regard for the issues raised by the petitioners."

He said the request for a review "may be able to be considered in the context of broader legislative reform".



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