Suppliers seek moratorium

A moratorium has been sought from NSW Premier Kristina Keneally on a proposed bus tendering panel which could make bus supply businesses unviable

Suppliers seek moratorium
Suppliers seek moratorium

By David Goeldner | January 28, 2011

A collective of Australia’s leading bus and coach chassis and body manufacturers are at odds with the NSW Government over the hasty creation of a bus tender panel, potentially disadvantaging companies not included on future lists of preferred government suppliers.

BIC Executive Director Michael Apps says the establishment of the NSW Transport tendering panel could see businesses excluded from the tendering process and the viability of companies threatened.

Essentially, any supplier not on the supply panel list will be excluded from the ‘bread and butter’ tendering process for NSW Government-subsidized route services.

"I don’t think by trying to restrict the number of suppliers who might tender for a particular contract is the way to go," Apps says.

"It’s always a problem when you start making lists because it’s a line in the sand that includes and excludes people."

Apps says a free enterprise system should be allowed to operate, and any bus industry supplier continue to exercise the right to put bids in for Government bus tenders.

He says the creation of the panel has the capacity to disadvantage operators – large and small – who should all be treated on a level playing field and have their tenders assessed on an equitable basis.

In late January, BIC wrote to NSW Premier Kristina Keneally, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, NSW Leader of the Opposition Barry O’Farrell and other senior members of NSW Parliament expressing these concerns.

The majority of Australia’s bus chassis and body suppliers are members BIC’s Supplier Group which has instigated the call for a moratorium.

Apps says these 14 chassis manufacturers and nine body suppliers, as well as several component manufacturers, compete for annual supply of 600 to 1500 Transport NSW vehicles and would be directly affected by the proposed tendering process.

He says bus sales numbers vary as a result of the NSW government’s investment into fleet renewal each year.

"The seasonal nature of the market makes the NSW tendering proposal even more threatening to the viability of businesses," Apps says.

"Our aim is to slow down this process to undertake further consultation after the NSW election on March 26."

Apps says waiting until after the March election to ratify the proposed suppliers panel would provide a new government with the capacity for parliamentary scrutiny.

"The NSW government has been prorogued at a time when the Ministry for Transport is pushing this bus tendering process through when there is no capacity for parliament to undertake any scrutiny of the process," he says.

"I think it’s a fair thing to say let’s wait until after the state election."

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