CCF NSW has argued against reforms proposed by Infrastructure NSW to NSW Government Procurement rules that would effectively exclude small businesses from undertaking small contracts.
The proposed changes would lift the standard of WHS Management Systems significantly. Currently, companies bidding on projects of less than $3m do not need to have WHS management systems that are certified to AS/NZS 4801. The new standard would require all contractors to have the certification – there would be no contract dollar limit.
A meeting of the CCF NSW Member WHS Sub-Committee estimated the costs to achieve certification to this level would be $150,000 and to maintain it a further $100,000pa. These costs would be higher in regional NSW where support is harder to secure.
CCF NSW submitted to INSW that this standard was unnecessary and would effectively exclude small contractors from bidding for contracts.
CEO of CCF NSW, David Castledine said “When we picked up on the proposed change, we raised our significant concerns directly with the office of the Deputy Premier, the Minister for Small Business, the Small Business Commissioner, SafeWork NSW and Transport for NSW.
“Hopefully, common sense will prevail and our intervention will have avoided the change.
“However, this proposal shows just how very vulnerable small businesses in our industry are to changing Government policy.
“We need to ensure small contractors are supported to improve their management systems, not be cut off and left behind to wither, contracting for scraps just because they do not have expensive certification. There are 10,000 of these businesses in NSW and they deserve the opportunity to bid for Government work. CCF NSW is intent on supporting them.”