Margaret River youth precinct tender process raises concern

Concerns have been raised over the Augusta Margaret River Shire’s tender process for the Youth Precinct upgrade after a supplier questioned if the successful company received opportunities not given to all bidders. 

The upgrade will see an overhaul to the existing skate park as well as a playground, nature space and new or refurbished public facilities. 

Advanteering Civil Engineers’ Dan Cunningham raised the concerns with the Shire after learning that the successful tender was almost $300,000 more expensive than the one he submitted.

“I was notified by the Shire that the successful tender was Convic Pty Ltd, the letter stated that the tender quote was $2.849 million,” Mr Cunningham told the Mail. 

”Our unsuccessful tender came in at $2.55 million, significantly less than the winning bid.”

He also said that council and public consultation meetings indicated Convic was involved in the planning and design process months prior to the tender being opened, and questioned whether the decision was made “long ago”. 

Acting Shire CEO Dale Putland said the Shire was required by law to undertake a “rigorous, publically advertised, State-wide tender process.” 

“This robust procurement process provides equal opportunity to all suppliers in the market to submit a tender,” he said.

“Those seeking to submit a tender are provided with the same access to all relevant information and opportunity for clarification to prepare a fully informed tender response. 

“In the case of the Youth Precinct, detailed information with regards to the existing concept design and public consultation feedback was provided to all tenderers.

“All unsuccessful suppliers are provided the opportunity to request a de-brief regarding the evaluation of their tender. This is a best practice approach that we positively encourage and welcome. 

Now every ratepayer has to take it on the chest.

Dan Cunningham

“It allows us to provide feedback to suppliers on where they performed well, guidance on areas where they can improve and assists suppliers in their understanding of the procurement process we are required to follow”

Mr Cunningham said as a ratepayer he was concerned that residents would be footing the more expensive bill. 

"Now every ratepayer has to take it on the chest,” he said.

Mr Putland said the Shire sought best value for money during tenders. 

“This means that although qualitative criteria and price are scored, the tender containing the lowest price will not necessarily be accepted,” he said. 

“Price is considered in context with the level of performance against all essential criteria and cannot therefore be considered in isolation. 

“Convic ranked highly in their performance against the qualitative criteria and competitively on price when considered in comparison to all offers.” 

Mr Putland said the Shire was looking forward to a successful project outcome. 

“We look forward to Convic delivering an outstanding Youth Precinct we can all be proud of, which will give immense enjoyment to our young people,” he said. 

Request for comment from Convic was not answered by publication deadline.