South Burnett Regional Council wants to lift the amount it spends with local businesses from $20 million to $25 million a year by 2023 to help foster business development and employment growth
South Burnett Mayor Brett Otto

August 24, 2021

South Burnett Regional Council wants to spend an extra $5 million a year with local businesses,

However, it will only be able to do it if South Burnett businesses register their details on Council’s purchasing systems.

At this Wednesday’s General Meeting, councillors are expected to approve an “aspirational goal” to expand local purchasing from $20 million to $25 million a year by 2023.

The move is the latest development in a decade-long process that began in 2012 when former Mayor Wayne Kratzmann introduced a “local buy” scheme to Council’s purchasing activities.

That scheme saw South Burnett businesses get a 2.5 per cent to 10 per cent price preference over non-regional businesses when bidding for Council contracts below a $200,000 ceiling.

At the time that scheme was introduced, the SBRC was spending an estimated $16 million a year with local suppliers.

Over the past decade this annual spend has expanded to $20 million and the local buy preference has been simplified to give local suppliers a 10 per cent price advantage for goods or services under $50,000, or 5 per cent for contracts between $50,000 and $200,000.

At last week’s Finance Standing Committee meeting, Councillors were told that in 2020-21 the SBRC had spent $19.18 million with suppliers in the following towns:

  • Murgon – $3.4m
  • Nanango – $2.2m
  • Kingaroy – $11.0m
  • Wondai – $2.3m
  • Kumbia – $60,000
  • Proston – $110,000
  • Blackbutt – $111,000

However, the remaining $29 million of Council’s spending was outside the region.

Officers said this was because some goods and services could not be supplied locally, and in other cases local suppliers were not registered on Council’s systems.

On Tuesday, Mayor Brett Otto said Councillors wanted to see more Council business spent locally, but in order to do that it was essential that suppliers registered their details on Council’s pre-qualified supplier list and the Felix local marketplace.

Mayor Otto said that suppliers who did this received notifications of all Council contracts that were relevant to their businesses and could bid on them if they wished.

The Mayor said the reason the “aspirational target” was set for 2023 was the current pandemic was causing supply difficulties in some areas – particularly in the building and construction sector – that made it difficult for some firms to bid on jobs.

However, Councillors were hopeful the situation would normalise by 2023.

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