Procurement: Latest issues and developments

Procurement issues have been at the top of the agenda in NSW – and Australia-wide - in recent times with new legislation proposed, and then delayed, and much ongoing debate and discussion.

We take a look at two key recent developments in this area.

NSW modern slavery laws - delayed

It has been announced that the introduction of the Modern Slavery Act 2018 (NSW) is to be delayed - or the Act repealed - following a parliamentary debate held last month.

This is due to a number of fundamental issues with the Act including:

  • legislative defects (for example, the Act failing to contain the necessary provisions to capture Local Government despite the intention of the Act to apply to local government in the same way as state government)
  • State and Commonwealth inconsistencies potentially leading to constitutional issues and challenges under section 109.

The Act, expected to have commenced on 1 July, has now been referred to the Standing Committee on Social Issues.

Read more in our recent report here.

Changes to local government procurement

The Local Government Amendment Bill 2019 was introduced in the Legislative Assembly on 4 June 2019, passing with amendments on 19 June 2019. The Bill amends the Local Government Act 1993 (NSW) with respect to tendering requirements, rates, election planning, mutual recognition of approvals and other regulatory matters.

The key changes to local government procurement under the Bill are:

  • increasing the financial threshold of a contract that requires a council to undertake a tender process from $150,000 to $250,000 (the $150,000 threshold continues to apply to a contract for the provision of services where those services are being provided by employees of the council at the time the contract is entered into)
  • an additional exemption for the requirement to tender for a contract with a disability employment organisation approved for the particular goods and services concerned under the Public Works and Procurement Act 1912 (NSW).

This publication does not deal with every important topic or change in law and is not intended to be relied upon as a substitute for legal or other advice that may be relevant to the reader's specific circumstances. If you have found this publication of interest and would like to know more or wish to obtain legal advice relevant to your circumstances please contact one of the named individuals listed.