Media release 29 April 2021.
Land procurement at Western Sydney Airport is exempt from oversight under the procurement rules, according to a new submission to the inquiry. Analysis from the Centre for Public Integrity has found that enforcement and accountability of CPRs is largely ineffective. Although the Act provides for judicial review of alleged contraventions of the CPRs, it is significantly undermined by the following:
- it doesn’t apply to all procurements – most notably, it doesn’t apply to the procurement of land;
- the Minister can exempt procurements from the operation of the Act;
- the issuing of a public interest certificate appears not to be subject to independent oversight; and
- contravention of the CPRs does not affect a contract’s validity.
“The CPRs – the “keystone of the Government’s procurement policy framework” – are failing in their self-described “core rule” of achieving value for money,” said Geoffrey Watson SC, Director of the Centre for Public Integrity.
“The Leppington Triangle deal would not be covered by the accountability mechanisms in the Act, as they don’t apply to land procurement. And the Minister can exempt any procurement from accountability.”
“We need to reform the Act to close loopholes, ensure stronger enforcement through the ANAO, and establish a National Integrity Commission to investigate serious or systemic breaches.” Mr Watson said.