As well as competing globally, business in WA wants to secure local opportunities, including those that come from government procurement. Government wants to support local and regional companies and the jobs they provide. But it also has a duty to taxpayers to secure best value for money, and has to comply with broader trade agreements and procurement rules. Attempting to ensure that government procurement provides local content is complicated.
This complexity is reflected in the Buy Local Policy. The way the Policy interacts with other legislation and rules can render it ineffective exactly when it might appear most relevant. The Policy is very difficult for agencies to apply and enforce, and a lack of information makes it hard to demonstrate if it is making a difference. In short, change is needed.
Legislation has been introduced to the Parliament aimed at changing the Government’s strategy, the Policy and its implementation. My report will, I hope, help shape that change by better informing Parliament and the community, and my recommendations will, I trust, give impetus to agencies implementing more workable and effective local content arrangements.