New advocate to fight for local businesses vying for government contracts



Premier Jay Weatherill has announced the establishment of an Industry Participation Advocate - whose job it will be to ensure local businesses reap the maximum economic rewards from major government projects.

Mr Weatherill said the move was a response to an increase in the value of contracts being awarded to interstate companies at the expense of local companies.

"Investing in good, well-paid, secure jobs for South Australians is at the heart of our economic policy," Mr Weatherill said.

"We want to ensure that South Australia achieves the maximum economic benefit from the $3.8 billion of contracts let annually by the State Government - and that local companies are given every opportunity to win these contracts.

"The Industry Participation Advocate will review the impediments local companies face and work with local business and industry associations to increase the number of companies able to meet tender requirements.

"The advocate will work with the Procurement board to ensure that its policies and practices are not disadvantaging local business.

"The role also will involve liaising with the Commonwealth and other State Governments to investigate changes to national and state procurement procedures that reduce impediments local businesses face in winning tenders interstate."

Manufacturing, Innovation and Trade Minister Tom Kenyon said the establishment of the Industry Participation Advocate builds on the Industry Participation Policy implemented in July last year, which is aimed at strengthening requirements for proponents of major projects to provide full, fair and reasonable opportunities for local suppliers to compete for work.

Primary Industries and Regions SA chief executive Ian Nightingale had been appointed to the new position.

"Mr Nightingale brings a wealth of experience to this key position through his senior position with PIRSA and as inaugural Chief Executive of the Department of Planning and Local Government where he led the reforms of the State's planning system," Mr Kenyon said.

"This new role demonstrates the government's continued support for business through the policy which particularly targets small to medium enterprises - the vast majority of local suppliers of goods and services.

"We're seeing a period of unprecedented opportunity in South Australia with the State Government investing more than $9 billion in capital projects over the next four years.

"We want local businesses to be placed in the best possible position to compete equally and competitively for tender contracts, so they can share in the economic benefits of this investment.

"We're looking to the flow-on effects of this appointment and the Industry Participation Policy to result in more jobs linked to our major projects and a strengthened economy.

"The Advocate will work closely and consult with business, industry, government departments, employer representative groups and unions as part of his ongoing review of our procurement processes."