General manager at Printing Industries Victoria & Tasmania, Ron Patterson, says personal intervention by Premier Steve Bracks was welcomed, but the government needs to ensure transparency in all its dealings on the tender issue.
“There are serious doubts within the industry as to whether appropriate analysis was undertaken by the government initially to establish the most efficient way of managing its print needs,” says Patterson.
“The government has already conceded there was no consultation with the industry, but there are many other questions yet to be answered,” he says.
“For example, the government does not appear to know exactly how much its printing requirements are worth and on several occasions has quoted the figure at between $15m to $25m. That’s a huge budgetary gap to have particularly when crucial expenditure and management decisions are involved. “If this is part of its analysis, then it casts a serious doubt about the accuracy of the other analysis components,” says Patterson.
Patterson says the there are several other key points in which need to be examined to determine weather the Victorian government has taken into consideration key elements in the tender process.
“We have also asked whether consideration was given to internally centralising government print requirement co-ordination using existing resources rather than outsourcing to a print manager,” he says.
“What does the government propose for the public servants previously responsible for managing the various printing components? Are they part of the quoted savings or will they be retained with the expectation that industry will be squeezed to meet proposed budget savings as well as cover the cost of print management?
“Our industry believes that in the spirit of co-operation and transparency we are trying to build with the government, the tender process should, as a minimum requirement, be postponed until these issues have been properly dealt with.
“It is in everyone’s best interests to ensure the Victorian Government’s print needs are met with the best and most efficient procurement system. We stand ready and able to help the government achieve this and ensure that its printing is kept in Victoria,” he says.