Question Time: Road Network

Tuesday July 23, 2019

Mr BELL (Mount Gambier) (14:43): A supplementary: does the minister agree that aggregation or bundling of large contracts has a negative impact and effect on small and medium-sized businesses in South Australia?

The Hon. S.K. KNOLL (Schubert—Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Local Government, Minister for Planning) (14:43): No; in fact, there is a range of different—

The Hon. A. Piccolo interjecting:

The SPEAKER: The member for Light is warned.

The Hon. S.K. KNOLL: —procurement models that we undertake for a range of different projects. In relation to the opportunity, for instance, to be able to mandate lower tier work, I will talk about the road maintenance reform we are currently undergoing. Having discussed that with a number of contractors in your electorate, the opportunity to use different contracting models to make sure that tier 2 and tier 3 companies have the opportunity to bid in and get work is very much at the heart of what we want to achieve. Certainly, we are able to achieve that through a variety of different procurement models.

What I can say is that in making sure that there are opportunities through the capital projects that we have on the go to the road maintenance work that we have on the go, we are very much alive to making sure that there is work for companies all up and down that size chain. I suppose the other difficulty we have is that, especially for a number of these tier 2 contractors, they currently have degrees of restrictions about the size of projects they can deliver and also the complexity and types of projects they are able to deliver, so it is important for us to try to skill up local industry to be able to deliver projects. Again, that is something that also factors into our thinking.

I know that something we did talk about previously, before the election, was the fact that at times we felt work was being pushed together to the detriment of local contractors. Can I say that, since coming to government, we have worked assiduously to break that down and to make sure that there is opportunity through the entire chain. I am comfortable that we are heading in the right direction on that, and we will continue to make further progress as we roll out projects into the future.