Facilities services

Wednesday July 01, 2020

Mr BELL (Mount Gambier) (15:02): My question is to the Minister for Infrastructure as well. With the Facilities Services division of DPTI being privatised from next year—

Members interjecting:

Mr BELL: —can the minister confirm that under the new model regional contractors will be given the same opportunities as larger city-based contractors when it comes to maintenance of regional facilities?

The Hon. S.K. KNOLL (Schubert—Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Local Government, Minister for Planning) (15:03): I thank the member for Mount Gambier for this question. I'm not responding to the interjections, but I did hear and take heed of the interjections from members opposite because this is another classic example of, 'Do as we say, not as we did.' To say that we did not have an outsourced facilities management arrangement in South Australia is a flat-out lie because 60 per cent of the facilities management work that is being done in South Australia is already working under the outsource model.

As to the member for Mount Gambier—and I do thank him for his question because it is a very important part of what we are now going to go through in terms of the procurement process to move to a fully outsourced model in relation to facilities management—the key question that we as a cabinet have needed to satisfy ourselves about, and it's part of an election commitment that we took to the last election and the now Minister for Innovation and Skills pushed for before the last election, is to improve contestability for small business as part of that contracting arrangement.

As part of the procurement process, what tenderers are going to need to substantiate to the government is the opportunity to provide contestability. As part of these changes, what we have also done is improve contestability as a result of this, the ability for there to be more contestability when it comes to soft landscaping and other what we call handyman services and the ability for agencies to undertake small construction projects outside the contracts so local schools can pick their local contractors. That is also part of these new, updated contracting arrangements.

At the moment, almost all the work that is undertaken is already undertaken by private small businesses and medium-sized businesses right across South Australia. Those opportunities will continue, and making sure that they can continue is a key part of the procurement process.