Procurement Initiatives to Support Small Business, Environmental Performance and External Scrutiny
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Small Business Support
The NCA supports small business participation in the Commonwealth Government procurement market. Small and medium-sized enterprise (SMEs) and small enterprise participation statistics are available on the Department of Finance’s website at www.finance.gov.au.
The NCA seeks to support SMEs, consistent with paragraph 5.4 of the Commonwealth Procurement Rules. It ensures that its communications are expressed in clear and simple language.
The NCA provides guidance and instruction to its employees regarding procurement policy, procedure and best practice through its Accountable Authority Instructions (AAIs).
It also provides procurement Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and general guidance information through its information management system and its intranet. NCA employees are encouraged to consider the inclusion of SMEs in all their procurement and purchasing undertakings.
In its AAIs and SOPs the NCA has mandated the use of the Commonwealth Contracting Suite for appropriate procurement processes and contracts up to $200,000. This is in accordance with the Resource Management Guide 420 Mandatory Use of the Commonwealth Contracting Suite for procurement under $200,000.
The NCA recognises the importance of ensuring that small businesses are paid on time. The NCA complies with all payment requirements, ensuring that invoices that are correctly rendered are paid within 30 days of the date of receipt of the invoice.
During 2017–18 the NCA did not conduct any advertising campaigns.
During 2017–18 the NCA did not award any grants.
Information Publication Scheme
The NCA is subject to the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act) and is required to publish information for public access as part of the Information Publication Scheme (IPS). The NCA’s Agency Plan in relation to the IPS is located at www.nationalcapital.gov.au/index.php/freedom-of-information/agency-plan-to-information-publication-scheme
The NCA did not receive any Ministerial Directions in 2017-18.
Ecologically Sustainable Development and Environmental Performance
The National Strategy for Ecologically Sustainable Development defines the goal of ecologically sustainable development (ESD) as ‘development that improves the total quality of life, both now and in the future, in a way that maintains the ecological processes on which life depends’.
The NCA reports on its ESD commitments through Section 516A of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).
NCA Activities in line with the Principles of ESD
The NCA undertakes activities such as managing National Land and carrying out works to maintain or enhance the character of the National Capital and administering the National Capital Plan in accordance with the principles of ESD outlined in the EPBC Act.
ESD considerations are incorporated into the NCA’s policy framework, such as the National Capital Plan.
The NCA has in place other formal guidelines to facilitate staff consideration of ESD and the principles of ESD when undertaking business activities. These guidelines include the Risk Management Framework and the Guidelines for Events on National Land.
In all of our functions and operations, the NCA:
- Develops and implements measures and adopts technologies to reduce waste, energy and natural resource use, and to prevent and minimise pollution.
- Complies with environmental laws, regulations, agreements and other requirements either directly or through compliance by our contractors and suppliers.
- Systematically manages activities to achieve and promote continual improvement by setting environmental objectives and targets and assessing our achievements.
The NCA and its employees are committed to improved environmental performance. It achieves this through embedding environmentally friendly practices into everyday activities.
NCA Outcomes Contributing to ESD
The NCA’s outcomes provide the framework for the NCA to ‘manage the strategic planning, promotion and enhancement of Canberra as the National Capital for all Australians through the development and administration of the National Capital Plan, operation of the National Capital Exhibition, delivery of education and awareness programs and works to enhance the character of the National Capital’.
Effect of NCA Activities on the Environment
The NCA has established a number of corporate initiatives to minimise the impact of its activities on the environment. As a result of corporate environmental efficiency initiatives, the NCA has a work culture that:
- actively recycles paper, cardboard, toner cartridges and commingled waste
- promotes efficient use of water in kitchens and washrooms
- efficiently uses paper and office appliances
- has a conservative approach to the use of office lighting and air conditioning
- is committed to electronic record-keeping.
The NCA uses 10 percent green energy on all of its contestable sites managed under the Whole of Government Energy Contract.
To raise awareness of the impact of energy consumption on the environment, the NCA participated in the World Wide Fund for Nature’s “Earth Hour” awareness event in March 2018. This is the tenth year the NCA has been involved in Earth Hour.
Measures taken to minimise the NCA’s Impact on the Environment
The NCA undertook a range of sustainable practices in 2017–18 that minimised the impact of its activities on the environment. These included:
- Grinding and screening felled trees and leaves on National Land for re-use as compost and mulch to improve soil condition in garden beds and around young trees.
- Ongoing use of an upgraded irrigation control
system with Cloud-based technology and installation of data loggers on water meters allowing easy identification of water leaks in the system. This has resulted in a further 15 percent reduction in water usage from the previous years.
- The water within the Lake is observed, sampled and analysed to monitor the Lake’s water quality in accordance with the Lake Burley Griffin Water Quality Management Plan and the ACT Guidelines for Recreational Water Quality (the Guidelines) (ACT Health, 2014). This provides information about the environmental health of the Lake as well as providing information to Lake users on the suitability of water based recreation during the recreational season (mid-April to mid-October). All responses and advisories issued due to adverse water quality are in line with protocols, legislation and the Guidelines.
- Ongoing partnership using an Environmental care agreement with the Friends of the Grasslands to undertake weed removal on conservation grasslands in the NCA National Capital Estate.
- Fuel management which is consistent with the Bushfire Operations Plan for fire-prone areas of National Land,
including the conservation grasslands. The Ecological Management Plan for these areas prescribes a number of
principles to promote native grasses and lower the fuel load by managing the fire risks. In 2017-18, activities
included fire trail maintenance, slashing of firebreaks and four hazard reduction and ecological burns with the
assistance of the ACT Rural Fire Service volunteers at Yarramundi Grasslands, Scrivener’s Hut Conservation
Woodland and Stirling Park. The NCA continues
to implement policies to achieve a sensible balance between the use of the land and the Lake and protection of their environmental and heritage values as set out in the Heritage Management Plans.
- Minimising the NCA’s impact on the environment is a key objective of NCA’s strategic planning, promotion and enhancement of Canberra as the National Capital for all Australians.
- Under the National Capital Plan, matters of national significance include ‘development of a city which both respects environmental values and reflects national concerns with the sustainability of Australia’s urban areas’. One of the key objectives of the National Capital Plan is to ‘support and promote environmentally responsible urban development practices’.
Judicial, Administrative Tribunal or Information Commissioner Decisions
During the period 2017-18 there were no judicial, administrative tribunal or Information Commissioner decisions
significantly affecting the operations
of the NCA.
Reports on Operations of the NCA by the Auditor-General, a Parliamentary Committee or the Commonwealth Ombudsman
During the period 2017-18 there were no reports on operations of the NCA by the Auditor-General, a Parliamentary Committee or the Commonwealth Ombudsman.
NCA Trial Using Goats for Weed Management
The NCA engaged a contractor for three weeks as a trial of weed management using goat grazing. The contractor arrived on 8 November 2017 with 25 goats. An area of firm land, with access to water, no environmental sensitivities, and restricted vehicle access was selected.
Over that period the goats were penned into concentrated areas to target the weed species on the shoreline. The goats were moved once the weeds in the penned area had been sufficiently grazed or trampled down. Using this method over the three weeks, five pen areas were grazed.
Weed species targeted with success were blackberries, black alder and willow. The grazing of these weeds on the shore of Lake Burley Griffin allowed better access for the inspection, detection and treatment of Alligator Weed, a weed of national significance.
The use of goats is a more environmentally sustainable way of clearing large areas of invasive weed species at a reduced cost when compared to engaging manual crews. Another benefit is that there is no seed transfer as the seeds of the plants are destroyed in the gut of the goat.
The photos above illustrate the results. The before photos were taken prior to the goats entering the location. The after photos were taken once the goats had left the location.