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Council Connections - Mayor's Message 20 May 2020

20th May 2020

The recent push to support local business by promoting Buy Local has created quite a talking point.

Promoting Buy Local is not about eliminating your individual right of choice, it is not about forcing you to pay more for a product on the pretext that local is dearer, it is not about telling you when and where you can shop.

It is about giving your locals a go. Check the local prices out first or if you have a price, ask locals to match. Ask the locals if they can get a specific thing in for you, if that’s what you want. If you buy over the internet, then what is the difference in waiting for Australia Post to deliver as against a local, if the price is commensurate or agreed.

I am aware that many out of towners come to Ingham to shop. I am aware that we have local and national award winners amongst our retail sector.

All I am asking is that you give the locals an opportunity to meet your needs.

We must remember that it is these very locals that help out our sporting and community associations with sponsorship and other activities throughout the year. Without that type of support our community would be doing it much harder.

Over the last term of Council, significant focus was placed on ensuring that Council purchasing activities in general remained local, the intent being of course to support local business.

Because of legislation in place, and despite Council’s best intentions, buying locally is not always possible. I thought you might be interested in knowing how Council’s Purchasing Policy works.

By law, Local Government must seek quotations or tenders for all of its purchases. Where purchasing is repetitive or regular (i.e. hiring backhoes or purchase of gravel), a tender may seek to establish a preferred supplier, meaning the successful tenderer or tenderers may be awarded sole rights of supply for a set period – say two years. In awarding a tender or quotation, Council has regard to various legal principles, the paramount principle being value for money.

Value for money is always the hardest to address in a buy local context as more often than not our small business entities cannot always match the larger corporations in the market on a price basis. Whilst price is not the only consideration, it is the most influential from a purchasing point of view.

For that purpose, our Council involves economic development provisions applying a cash variable allowance to a local on purchase price and additionally in a contract situation, a local content scoring mechanism.

Essentially, these mechanisms combined provide a preferential advantage to a local business although it does come at a slightly elevated cost. Some businesses argue that the allowances are not enough and that may be a fair comment. But it must be remembered that the community must still pay for the difference in cost generated by the provisions and the larger that gap becomes, the harder it gets to prove value for money. Remember 5% of $100,000 is $5,000.

Under trade practice legislation it is not lawful to exclude a non-local from tendering for a job. That is not a bad thing, as if a non-local wins a contract with Council, it enables other non-contracting type local businesses such as motels, hotels, shops, local subbies, local fuel outlets etc to share in the contract.

This is achieved through the local content points mechanism, meaning that an out of towner winning against a local on price, must also show significant employment of other local businesses, rather than simply bringing everything into town. The above is a very simplistic overview of how we go about purchasing and as you would appreciate, things do get complex, but what I can assure you of is that Council is very committed to supporting local business and will continue to ensure that we buy local wherever possible in compliance with the legislation we must observe.

It is a complex issue and I am quite happy to explain the parameters further if you would like to ring me.

National Volunteer Week

To the many good people who assist our community through the generous donation of their time volunteering – happy Volunteers Week!

Without volunteers the entire country would grind to a halt. Hinchinbrook is no exception. A special thank you goes to our Hinchinbrook Way Ambassadors as there is no doubt that without your assistance and willingness to support our organisation, the Centres would not be available to provide the services and displays intended for not only the travelling public, but our own community as a whole.

On behalf of Council, Council officers and employees with whom you work and our community, I want to sincerely thank you for your time and effort in volunteering and your contributions in that regard being the reason for the successful programs presently on offer.

We are extremely grateful and appreciative of your assistance.

Need to print the Council Connections page? Click on the link below for the printable version. 

COUNCIL CONNECTIONS -  20 MAY 2020

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