Aaron Hill is one of the local business owners who has done contract work for Rockhampton Regional Council.
Aaron Hill is one of the local business owners who has done contract work for Rockhampton Regional Council. Allan Reinikka ROK241115acontrac

Can we plug the 23% buy local gap?

ROCKHAMPTON Regional Council's stronger focus on buying local first is proving to be a multi-million dollar winner for our economy.

Figures from the last past years show the council's local spend increased from 67% (Nov 2014 to Oct 2015) to 77% (Nov 2015 to Oct 2016) with opportunities to further increase that share in the future.

In the past year council spent $59.6m locally on goods and services from a total of $77.3m (Nov 2015 to Oct 2016) for the 77% result.

A council spokesman said the 23% spent outside the region went into a range of goods and services that were not available locally.

These included:

Water and waste treatment chemicals

Corporate software acquisitions and licensing

Specialist airport operations services

Some specialist zoo support services

There may be an opportunity for local businesses to discuss plugging those gaps during future tendering forums.

Acting Mayor Cherie Rutherford said council was committed to local businesses and to growing the region's economy, giving an example of where the local spend was almost 100%.

"Road marking materials, plant and equipment, and trade services were sourced locally 96% of the time, or $23.7m from a total spend of $24.6m, which is also quite significant," she said.

"On top of that, we also spent an additional $2m with local Council areas surrounding our boundaries, so all in all we have been supporting our local and Central Queensland businesses."

She said the Local Preference Policy was reviewed each year with the latest changes providing added incentives for local products and workers.

"The contracts greater than $1m will attract a minimum 5% weighting for local preference, but if their project commits to using local suppliers and sub-contractors they will also then attract the 10% Contractor Local Content weighting," Cr Rutherford said.

"There is a fine balance between value for money, continuous improvement and supporting our local businesses and services, and we think we've achieved that balance for the next 12 months."



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