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Redmond qualifies 'buy local' policy

Tuesday, 8 January 2013
Author: Kevin Naughton, Indaily

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OPPOSITION Leader Isobel Redmond has qualified her reported promise to change government tender guidelines to preference work for local companies.

Redmond floated the idea in an interview with the Sunday Mail.

The State Government has labelled Redmond's idea as "lacking commercial understanding of how the free market operates".

Applying local preference would have put Redmond on a collision course with national competition laws, Finance Minister Michael O'Brien said.

The practice was common until the late 1980s when national competition policies were brought in to promote more efficient delivery of government services.

"Obviously, there are national competition laws which have to be taken into account with any proposal or policy," Redmond said in an emailed response to Indaily's queries regarding national rules.

Redmond referred to the Opposition's previous election policies, borrowed from the Victorian Government.

"We've long been advocates for supporting local business - at the March 2010 State election we had a policy to introduce a system to give preference to local businesses by requiring tenderers for government projects to submit an Industry Participation Plan," she said.

"We adopted this from a Victorian Government policy which essentially required that any government contract in excess of a benchmark would be assessed, not just on the bottom line but on local employment, local training and local intellectual property development.

"We are also examining ways of giving our local businesses greater opportunities to win government contracts."

O'Brien slammed Ms Redmond's proposal.

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