Let's support local, invest in local and buy local, a councillor says.
Cr Nik Lipovac put forward a motion at Port Macquarie-Hastings Council's March meeting which he said reinforced the Tendering Local Preference Policy.
"It also seems an appropriate time to highlight the policy during Small Business Month where the focus is to rebuild, recharge and renew," he said.
There will be a briefing to councillors on procurement activities.
The briefing will cover procurement activities which are in place to support local business, and provide opportunities to assist local business further in securing a greater proportion of council's spend through both tendering and purchasing that is under the tendering threshold, and generate council's awareness of suppliers in our local government area and their offerings.
The Tendering Local Preference Policy was introduced to support local businesses and encourage local economic business activity for the benefit of the community.
"Now this allows council to give due consideration to the actual and potential benefits to the local economy of sourcing goods and services locally where possible, whilst maintaining a value for money approach," Cr Lipovac said.
"So local representatives from Regional Development Australia and Business NSW Mid North Coast are urging us to get behind local business wherever and whenever possible, especially over the past two years of COVID, bushfire and floods, and the severe impact this has had on our community, both financially and emotionally at a personal and business level.
"Basically, the more we pump into the local economy, the more we will get back."
He said the chambers of commerce presidents in Port Macquarie, Wauchope and the Camden Haven were all about supporting local and council campaigns encouraged residents to shop local.
"We can't be seen to [be] just preaching," Cr Lipovac said.
"Council must set an example and lead from the front, so we have to encourage local suppliers to let us know what they can offer, to have the confidence to put in a tender and believe they have a fighting chance to secure a portion of council's expenditure, whether it's office supplies, signage, tyres for our fleet of vehicles or the equipment required to maintain our infrastructure."
Cr Sharon Griffiths asked council director Rebecca Olsen to highlight the work done to date.
Ms Olsen said the council had done a fair bit of work in this space around local preference.
She told the meeting it was always a balance for local government to provide real benefits to the community and also manage its legislative obligations around anti-competitive behaviour.
"Council has previously adopted a policy around local preference which provides a notional price offset," Ms Olsen said.
"What it doesn't do is address local preference under the tendering threshold, so as we work through the procurement framework, the team has certainly got a lot of ideas around what we could do in that space to really educate and work with local business going forward, which I think will bring some real benefits."
A further report will be presented to a council meeting that details the council's commitment to supporting local business through its tendering and purchasing process from the previous 12 months.
Cr Rachel Sheppard said if you were looking at long-term resilience in the face of global instability, you really started seeing other long-term benefits of supporting local business.
Mayor Peta Pinson declared a pecuniary interest in the Tendering Local Preference Policy matter and left the meeting during the council's considerations.
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