Transcript - Infrastructure Supply to Education webinar

Introduction

Andrea Patrick - Chief Procurement Officer, NSW Department of Education

Andrea: Good morning, and welcome to the Department of Education Supplying to Us series of engagements- events. Today, we're gonna focus on the infrastructure spend, and I'm pleased that colleagues from Schools Infrastructure division have partnered with Procurement Solutions to provide you hopefully with what will be a comprehensive presentation of information for suppliers of infrastructure, goods and services. This session came about because last October, the Department of Education supported Small Business Week, and we delivered a series of Meet the Buyer general events. From those events, we received feedback from suppliers, and that there was an appetite to learn more about specific categories and infrastructure category was top of that list.

Before we begin, I would like to acknowledge that we do meet on the homelands of the Aboriginal people. I'd like to pay my respects to elders past, present and emerging and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, wherever you join the meeting from today. I joined the meeting from Wiradjuri land in Central West, New South Wales, where the sun is shining, the birds are singing and I've been happily working from my home for the last 10 weeks and long may it continue - and not the COVID 19. The artwork you see on the screen features throughout our reconciliation plan and represents the themes of community, school, friendship and family. Suzanne, a student from Boca Bella Central School created this artwork. The school is near the Queensland border at the Northeast end of New South Wales. It's a small but active school for the community of Boca Bella.

NSW Department of Education Procurement presentation

Andrea Patrick - Chief Procurement Officer

Procurement Solutions Directorate, NSW Department of Education

Andrea: Today, I'll cover introductions to the Department of Education, spend, infrastructure spend and provide an overview of our policies that support Aboriginal-owned businesses and small-medium enterprises. I'll then invite Paul Hannan, from Schools Infrastructure, to talk about the infrastructure category in more detail and some of the specific initiatives Schools Infrastructure are working on - are currently delivering - that will be hopefully of interest to you. Paul is the Director of Procurement and Finance, Business Enablement in Schools Infrastructure, and I'll provide a little bit more detail up about Paul later on in the presentation. Please know that you will be on mute and the chat box is turned off. This event is also being recorded for those who registered but were unable to attend and the slide deck will not be been issued, but a future reference will be emailed out to everyone who's registered for the event along with a full list of all the questions raised and the answers provided. You will note that there is a little Q&A icon on your screen. We do encourage you to raise questions throughout the session around Procurement. Paul and myself will do our best to answer those questions, but those questions that may just require a little - little bit more detail, or a bit of research, we will take on notice and provide a response post-the-event.

We're fortunate to have colleagues as well, from both our teams, on the webinar, who will be supporting us to answer as many questions as possible. We have Lyn Corkett, Manager of Procurement Coordination, so Lyn's the person who knows everything that's going on in Schools Infrastructure, and spend and procurement activities. Christine Yorkston, the Senior Procurement Officer, who looks after and promotes the government initiatives, certainly around our policies on SMEs and Aboriginal-owned businesses. Myla Bulaon, the Procurement Strategy Manager - Myla is instrumental in ensuring the department implements a lot of the strategies to support and apply the policies that the New South Wales Government publish. So as you can see, I'll provide the overview procurement policies and infrastructure spend, followed by Paul, he'll give a bit more detail about how we apply those policies in practice, then the questions and answers, and hopefully we'll get away by 12 p.m. As in lunchtime. Okay, so just before I start the presentation, we would just like to do a quick poll just to see who's on the call. So you should see the poll coming up on your screen now. There are four options and we'd like to see you to identify as to whether you are an Aboriginal-owned business in the Sydney metro area, an Aboriginal-owned business in the regional New South Wales area, an SME - non-Aboriginal - in Sydney or an SME in regional New South Wales.

[Pause]

That's fantastic. We've got a great - a great representation and the category of over- will represent procurement colleagues who've joined the call. And I'm also glad to see some responses because it does tell me that people are online and listening to the presentation. So, that's great. We'll now move on.

Okay, so why do we want to do business with small-medium enterprises and Aboriginal-owned businesses? As you can see, 98% of businesses in Australia are SMEs and a high number of those are represented in the New South Wales state. A third of our Gross Domestic Product is delivered by small-medium enterprises. So you're a critical part of the of Australia's economy. Employment - almost five million people are employed by SMEs and Aboriginal-owned businesses, and Aboriginal-owned businesses do tend to employ Aboriginal people. So it's a real kind of win-win for the department to do more business to increase employment, which is aligned with the New South Wales Government targets in this area. We find small-medium enterprises and Aboriginal-owned businesses a lot more flexible and quicker to get to adapt to change compared to larger businesses, so we do have more of a partnership approach to achieving our objectives, outcomes and projects and often provide the innovation and a lot of enterprises - new enterprises, which are emerging, often start off as small enterprises - small ideas, that then develop into big - bigger ideas and bigger businesses. So we really wanna promote economic growth and the potential certainly is in those small-medium enterprises. Now on the screen, you will see the department's strategic plan, and the reason I've put that on the screen is to really do well when you're quoting or tendering for the department's requirements. It's really important that you understand what the department's about. And Paul will go into more helpful tips about tendering, but with regards to our strategy, if you understand our vision, and our purpose and our goals, and you align that in terms of how you can help us achieve those in your responses, it really puts you in a good position when you do tender and respond to the department's requirements. So that's something you can kind of look online, it's on our internet pages, and at any time, don't wait for a tender to come out. Just familiarize yourself with the department and our strategic plan.

Okay, so a little bit of an overview of the Department of Education, the size and complexity of the department. As you can see, we have almost a million students, and that population of students is growing. Many of our students don't have English as a first language, and also there's inequity in our students’ population as well, outside the school gate. So we have quite complex requirements that when we're looking at infrastructure, and the building of schools, we really do need to consider the diversity of our students, and to really help and support - meet their needs. Most students are kind of looked after by over 120,000 staff. Those staff are those staff that actually teach and staff that actually support those that teach, so a combination of corporate staff and school staff. In the Department of Education, we have 2,230 schools - and again, that's like having over 2,200 small businesses, and when you're implementing policies and trying to change buying behaviour - it's one of the challenges the department does have is to get that kind of out to all those schools. So it's a little bit like herding sheep sometimes and looking after, technically, what could be deemed 2,200 small businesses. And on our financial management system, we currently have almost 40,000 suppliers registered and then - and that equates to about 2 million transactions each year and that's around invoicing, good receipting and raising the purchase orders. The department's really pushing the use of PCards. So this time last year, we were at almost 60,000 suppliers - that significantly reduced because of the promotion of the use of PCards, which ensures suppliers, and certainly this is important to small- medium enterprises, and that cash flow and you're paid very quickly. Overall, the Department, in the 2019 calendar year, spent almost $4 billion on goods and services and that includes capital spend. The New South Wales Government love policies. We've got lots and lots of policies, and then it comes to agencies to apply those policies and we apply policies through our strategies and, as you are aware, there is an Aboriginal Procurement Policy and one for construction, which is the Aboriginal Participation in Construction Policy. Now these policies have recently been reviewed, and what we do is, we take aspects of these policies and we look at how the Department of Education can support the overall achievement of the targets that are set a whole-of-government level. On our Supplying to Us pages, on our internet, you will find the department's Aboriginal Participation Strategy for this financial year, and that generally is our commitment to support in New South Wales Government in achieving what these two policies outline.

Next year, what we're looking at is making it a little bit more specific. You may be aware that these policies have been reviewed. There's a number of recommendations been made to improve these policies, and how agencies apply the policies, and although the revised policy hasn't yet gone live, it won't come as any surprise that the agencies will now - possibly - will have a target themselves, whereas previously the target was a whole-of-government target, so it lacked a little bit of accountability. So our Aboriginal Participation Strategy, in the next financial year, will really outline and specify the steps the department are taking to achieve the targets that we as an agency will have. In addition, we have the Small Medium Enterprise and Regional Procurement Policy, and this has been instrumental, certainly through the floods, the droughts, and bushfires and, more recently, COVID-19. It has really enabled a lot more local spend to be made, up to $250,000, and I will go into a little bit more detail on the next slide around how we've kind of utilized these policies and applied them, in terms of our purchasing behaviour. The Faster Payment Terms for Small Business - if you're not already registered with the Small Business Commission, once registered, this ensures you get paid within five days. Now one of the things for SMEs and Aboriginal-owned businesses is cash flow, so, you know, a five-day payment term is very beneficial to all small businesses. So, if not already registered, I do encourage you to go online and register your business. And finally, the New South Wales Government Resource Efficiency Policy. This is all around sustainability and, under the umbrella of sustainability, these three main themes: there's the environment, and I'm sure we're all pretty familiar with the environment, and the steps we're trying to take to mitigate damage and impacts on the environment is the economy. The economy is gonna play a big part in the next financial year, certainly with all the challenges on New South Wales Government with the COVID and the steps that we've had to take to help support businesses and the people of New South Wales. But the third element is social outcomes, and again, this is a rising area in our procurement where we really want to see some good social outcomes through our procurement activity, and social outcomes includes benefits for Aboriginal communities, Aboriginal businesses, small-medium enterprises, as well as other areas of social value. So when we evaluate tenders, and quotations, we really want to see how suppliers can partner and support the department to have a positive impact under that sustainability agenda.

So as I've mentioned, I've just called out two or three policies, and we'll just review how we do apply them and what it does enable us to do. So in each agency, each agency has what's known as procurement delegations, and what procurement delegations do is stipulate, to our schools and to our corporate offices, how many quotes they have to get for certain thresholds. The SME, Regional Procurement Policy and Aboriginal Policy really overrides our delegations and it increases the threshold under which we can directly approach an SME or an Aboriginal-owned business, and as you can see, $250,000 for a single quote is a significant amount, certainly in a school environment. Most schools spend, in each transaction, between $10,000 to $20,000, and over 90% of their spend follows that low value, high volume type pattern. Obviously, it's slightly different in the corporate office, and you'll see - I'll come on to the spend breakdown in a second. So it really gives us great potential to go directly to your businesses with a single quote. One of the challenges in the Department of Education, as I alluded to earlier is, changing the buying behavior of schools and getting some of these policies embedded across the school environment, and that's because schools tend to be set in their ways a little bit - I suppose we all are sometimes. If you've - if you've previously bought, and you've bought from a supplier, you've got that confidence of supply, you've got a good relationship – it’s, you know, why break something that's already working? So we are working with schools to kind of really educate them about the social outcomes, the social benefits, and I was listening to Adam Goodes’ session recently during Reconciliation Week, and he was talking - for every dollar we invest in an Aboriginal-owned business, we get a return of over $4 back.

So there's lots of benefits and lots of social outcomes we can really derive from doing more business with Aboriginal-owned businesses. So these are the messages that we are getting out to schools, and one of the enabling tools, that we have just secured with Supply Nation, is use of their data. So, at the moment, if we want to find an Aboriginal-owned business, it's quite a challenge - you've got to know that there is a search engine on Supply Nation's website, or you need to phone the Indigenous Chamber of Commerce. Now, schools are pretty time-poor, and they don't always have that time to do that research. The recently secured agreement with Supply Nation is actually going to give us what's - an API, which gives us access to their data direct. We're looking at a tool that transfers that data into a search engine, so that if a school has a requirement, they go on the intranet, where they normally go for information on our contracts and suppliers, and are easily able to carry out that search for themselves. So during the next financial year, that's a big step forward as an enabling tool for schools to get - increase ease of access to that information. So we're quite positive that will make a good impact on increasing our spend with Aboriginal-owned businesses. In addition, we have the Small Business Exemption. So a small business is a business with less than 50 employees, so if you're less than 50 employees, we can go direct with a single quote up to $50,000. If you're a medium-sized enterprise, and that's derived by if you've got less than 200 employees, but more than 50, that's where the $250,000 threshold applies. And again, the Faster Payment Policy really does encourage the five days, and another initiative in the department is we’re really pushing the use of PCards, so these are purchase cards very similar to a credit card, where we're encouraging schools to take up a PCard and to utilize it for that low value spending. So instead of the five days, basically suppliers get paid immediately, so these are all initiatives to support the cash flow, to really open up the opportunities for SMEs and Aboriginal-owned businesses.

So in terms of our spend, so as I said, we almost spent, last calendar year, almost $4 billion, and the way that's broken-up is about 2.8 billion of that spend is what we call Corporate Spend, and the lion's share of that sits in Paul's area, Schools Infrastructure New South Wales, and as you can see, over half is in construction. So, 1.6 billion spent on construction, so lots of opportunity potential for suppliers that are on this call today to access a slice of that cake going forward. Secondly, facilities management, so that's hard and soft facilities management, half a billion of that spent corporately in this space and, to some extent, human resources may be an area, because that's the temporary resources, contingent labour that we call upon to help support delivery of a lot of our infrastructure projects. So, the lion's share of that spend should be relevant to people on this call. Obviously, ICT is another big spend area and we will be doing a separate session on IT later on in the year. So lots of opportunity, Paul will share a breakdown of how this is made up and the plan over the next four years and the commitment in terms of what the New South Wales Government has made. But as you can see, lots of potential. Then in terms of school spend - so the way it's separated is Schools Infrastructure drive a lot of the large infrastructure projects, that's the building of new schools, the refurbishment of new schools, and then at the school level, there is - you can see a change in the spend profile.

So, about a billion of our goods and services and construction spend is what we call ‘inside the school gates’, so this is our 2,200 schools aggregated together and, as you can see, the construction spend reduces significantly 'cause schools don't generally undertake construction in their space, and when they do, they generally consult with their local Asset Management Unit, who again would have a link back into Paul's team. So, the visibility and the opportunities is all joined up across the department. Facilities management - schools generally do organize and pay for their own facilities management, in terms of - waste collection is probably a large proportion of that spend - and you'll see, again, generally the main areas: travel and transport, so the school trips generally makeup that spend; office supplies and services – office supplies has possibly been a reducing area of spend, especially given as we move more to digital type classrooms, where we've moved away from your pens and paper, but still significant spend in that area - some of it has started to shift into the ICT spend around multimedia, so we do see the profiling change year on year. But again, as you can see, the spend and the engagement probably is better through Paul's team, rather than you canvassing schools because the spend is a little bit limited in terms of opportunities, and although school spending facilities management, generally, they spend from corporate or department contracts or whole-of-government contracts, so they have very little influence around engaging directly in facilities management and construction and high value projects, but they are responsible for those kind of low value kind of engagements.

So hopefully that gives you a little bit of a few insights into our spend, and what I wanted to do today was take the opportunity, just to mention a little bit about the COVID-19, because we've kind of - during March and April and into May, we really did have to react and respond urgently to the COVID situation, and I really want to take this opportunity for suppliers who are on the call just to thank you and just do a little bit of a call out, to say what a fantastic job you did. The department received great support from local suppliers and Aboriginal-owned businesse, and it was really great to receive lots of emails from these businesses to say that the ad hoc orders that we placed with them made a big difference to sustaining their business throughout the COVID period. So, a big thank you from me on behalf of the department, for any supplier who supported us throughout that period and continues to do so. What this did do was really raise the profile of SMEs and Aboriginal-owned businesses, not just in the department, but across whole-of-government right up to the Premier, 'cause it really demonstrated the capability of our local small businesses, and it's something that government really want to take forward, during and - there's kind of three phases I've outlined there: there was the response, the response was very urgent and we really needed great capacity to fulfill the PPE and the hygiene needs of the whole-of-government. We're now kind of moving into the recovery stage, and as you can imagine, government are really keen to kickstart the economy, to really support businesses and, as a department, I just really want to give some assurance that we're really behind the government's initiative, and we are in close contact and working with them as to how we can support SMEs and the Aboriginal-owned businesses during this difficult time. And obviously, as you can imagine, a lot of jobs were lost during COVID, so there is a big push for job creation, certainly those cohorts of people who've been disadvantaged, not just by COVID, but by the bushfires, the floods that drought - what a year it's been, with everything that's been thrown at communities, certainly in the rural and regional area and the associated businesses established there. I have put a link there, because this is a New South Wales government initiative so, if you really want the most up to date information so that you get access to opportunities, not just in education, but across all 10 clusters or eight clusters that are across government, the link’s there and those pages are regularly updated with information for all suppliers as to how you can support recovery going forward and what support is available to you as an organisation.

The other area I just wanted to touch on lightly is the New South Wales Government Modern Slavery Act 2018. So this was tabled in Parliament a couple of years ago, and it's going through parliamentary consideration and government are just responding to the latest revision of the Act. But we're pretty certain this Act will be enforced and published within the next 12 to 18 months, and the Department have taken on slavery very seriously, because it's something, to us, that shouldn't really need an Act for us to do the right thing, and to ensure that our goods and services are not products of modern slavery. We're also aware that when an Act comes in or a new policy, it can be quite a challenge for SMEs and Aboriginal-owned businesses, to get familiar to really understand what they need to do - they don't have the same capacity as larger organisations that can very quickly mobilize a team to review policies, Act’s requirements, and very quickly respond to them. So I just really wanted to give some assurance that the Department of Education is already reviewing the Act, we're looking at a Reasonable Steps Framework that government will be putting in place to support the implementation of the Act, and we're focusing our time and energy on providing some resources, guidelines for SMEs and Aboriginal-owned businesses, that really turn this Act into plain English, so that you can easily adapt and put in place what's required and, in many instances, it'll be very light touch, because there is a revenue turnover that's required for reporting. But in other instances, you may be part of a supply chain with a tier-one supplier, and there will still be some onus on you to give some assurance to your tier-one or tier-two supplier, around your practices and mitigating actions around risk of modern slavery. So, our Supplying to Us web pages on the department's website will be updated. We're also working on some very short videos, two-minute type videos that, again, help explain the Modern Slavery Act and modern slavery - I really want to emphasize, is if we do find that there is risk in our supply chain, and the infrastructure spend category is a high risk spend category for modern slavery practices - we're not looking to cease contracts or cancel contracts. We're looking to work with suppliers and the supply chain to educate, raise awareness and influence behaviour, so we can assure the general public that the goods and services we are sourcing, as I've said earlier, are not products in modern slavery. So, watch this space and, hopefully, you'll find the resources that we produce be of use going forward.

NSW School Infrastructure presentation

Paul Hannan

Andrea: Okay, I'm now gonna hand over to Paul. Now Paul's joined Schools Infrastructure New South Wales as Director of Procurement and Finance. Approximately 12 months ago, Paul came from O'Connor Marsden, a procurement and probity organisation, and brought a wealth of experience from that - his role from that organisation. Paul's been instrumental since joining the department, in establishing a procurement team within Schools Infrastructure to underpin a significant workload going forward over the next four years. And it's - I'm really hopeful that you'll kind of glean a lot of information from Paul around the initiatives that Schools Infrastructure are working on or currently have implemented, and Paul will share the information around what those are and how you can benefit from those. So welcome, Paul. I'll hand over to you.

Paul: Good morning. Hopefully, I'm now visible. And you can see me on the screen. I'm not sure if I am. Am I there? I have a great face for radio.

Andrea: Oh, Paul you are, yeah. Sorry, I had the same issue. You can’t see, but yeah, people can see you.

Paul: Cool. That's good. Okay. So let's get into it. Welcome. Thanks, Andrea. Thanks for your introduction, thanks for sharing with us your views and insights. We - I suppose the first thing I should do is go back and do the acknowledgement of country. I would like to begin today by acknowledging the Traditional Custodians of the land where we work and the places in which we live, wherever we might be. We celebrate the First People's unique culture and spiritual relationship to Country and their rich contribution to Australia. I pay my respects to elders, past, present and future. Today, I'm on the land of the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation.

So, I thought, first of all, we'd kind of just give you a bit of a snapshot of what we're looking at sharing with you today: who we are and what we do at School Infrastructure, why we're talking to you now - why it's important for both you and for us, how we're looking to work with Aboriginal organisations, how we source our suppliers - obviously, the key issue for you, key piece of interest, and the ten-point plan - how it all fits together from a construction point of view across all of government, a little bit on our current projects and the pipeline of opportunities and some tips we'd like to share.

So, first of all, who is School Infrastructure? So we came into existence in August 2017, as a reaction to the expected population growth through to 2031, which presented a range of challenges for the state. This growth puts pressure on public infrastructure, recreational community type facilities, and will have significant impacts on education, health, housing, public transport, roads, utilities - pretty much everything, and the challenge for us in education, as is a similar challenge for others that are looking at social infrastructure, is that that growth over the next 15 to 30 years is kind of very slanted and biased towards the Greater Sydney region, kind of about 80%. So that looks to convert to about 20-odd percent growth in student numbers by 2031. The past 30 years or so, those numbers had been reasonably stable, but we're seeing a real - the first real major increase in the school age population since the baby boom, really. As Andrea mentioned earlier, our schooling enrollments currently kind of just closed on the 850,000 – we’re tipped to get over a million, and this is kind of puts unprecedented demand on our schools, our education, resources, et cetera, and the facilities that we provide. So we're looking to provide the best learning environments - supplying learning spaces that support modern teaching practices, ensure play space at our new schools meet the student needs, incorporate design principles that make our schools more environmentally sustainable, engage with local communities during the planning process for that new and upgraded infrastructure, and effectively manage school maintenance needs, which is obviously something that becomes quite a significant impost when you have twenty-two fifty schools or two thousand two hundred and fifty schools around the state. We're looking to make those environments more accessible to local communities and to work with the private sector, and other parts of the public sector, to ensure we’re innovative with the way that infrastructure is being delivered. In terms of our regional offices around the state, whilst the head office that I work from is charged with the planning and delivery of the school projects, with those projects with a value of in excess of $10 million dollars, we have many staff around the state that are instrumental in working with our local schools. Andrea touched on it before the Asset Management Units, or our regional SINSW officers - they work directly with the schools in their area to provide them with safe facilities. The school security unit is also another unit, they're based out of Blacktown, that ensures that our schools are all safe and secure. Our AMUs work with the schools when there's storm damage or, as we had six months or so ago, the bushfire situation. They work with their local communities on school-funded projects. So that might be, say, where the P&C has raised some funds through a raffle or a fete or something, to deliver minor and major works. They have, there are also instances where we have the joint funded works. So that could be something like a council might be working with a local school to have a joint-use facility for a library or a sporting field or something like that.

Why are we talking to you guys now? Essentially, this is a once in a generation, largest infrastructure investment in public education in history of New South Wales. So we need to, not only look at how we cover for the expansion of, or the increase in school student numbers, but also how we renew and improve our aging school buildings. Some of those buildings have been around for like kinda 150 years, they're not really lending themselves to modern teaching practices so we've got to do some work in that space. We have, as you can imagine, and I'm sure you've all familiar with, we have a lot of schools that have demountable school units in it or demountable school classrooms. We're looking at how we better accommodate the students. We need to look at how it will change the way that our classrooms are designed. $6.7 billion dollars over the next four years is a lot of money, but it doesn't get us all the way. There's still gonna be a lot of work to happen after that. We will, in addition to that, have to look at some non-asset solutions, so that may be looking at how we better utilise a school - there might be a school down the road that is kind of underutilised and the one that we're looking at is over-subscribed, and therefore, we need to look at how we better shift the numbers, to make sure it's a little bit more sustainable for each of the schools. And along with this, as kind of touched on by Andrea, we've also been asked to see what we could do in response to COVID to be able to look at what projects were planned in the future that we can kind of do sooner. That, it's in a sense, a way that we can sort of inject money into the economy.

In terms of how we're working with Aboriginal organisations, we're very much committed to the government's practice on this. However, we don't want to - we don't wanna be just doing it as a tick box exercise, this is about being real. The two policies that Andrea mentioned that are due to go live kind of January 21, the APP and APiC policies, the new combined one, will be kind of cornerstone to that. However, that’s - from our point of view, that's the starting point, we wanna look at how we can be ahead of the game. We wanna be leading the charge in this space. We've got, as mentioned before, we've got Christine Yorkston within my team. Christine is a Torres Strait Islander, she'll be our first point of contact for Aboriginal-owned businesses and SMEs in this particular space for infrastructure. She's very happy for you to drop us a line, tell us about who you are, what your capabilities are, and she'll give you some guidance on how we can work with you, to see you get some work with government. So some of that will be with us, some of it will be, you know, helping you get onto Prequalification Schemes, that then may see you provided with opportunities with other organisations, or the state owned corporations, et cetera. So, we really, in all honesty would welcome that communication, we are struggling to identify enough construction-related Aboriginal-owned businesses, and so we're trying to establish our own database in that space. We're not trying to, re-create what others are doing, but we do need to have, that knowledge of who's available and who we can go to.

In terms of the Aboriginal Participation in Construction, the APiC Policy, it's about supporting the government's framework for growing New South Wales’ first economy. As I mentioned before, again, we don't want this just as a tick box, this is about how we see Aboriginal businesses grow and prosper. This is something that's really kind of very close to our heart. We're looking at the pipeline of work, particularly in the regional areas, so, whilst I recognise that a lot of the organisations that are kind of probably on this call, I imagine, are fairly small businesses - I'd imagine there's probably a good mix, but however, I imagine that a lot of you are quite small - we do want to be able to work both with our major projects, and that maybe that we help put you in touch with somebody, or in terms of our minor works and our maintenance works that are done through our Asset Management Units, then we'll make sure that they're aware of who you are, and how we can kind of get you all on the - on our - into our workload, because we have an unprecedented pipeline.

So, in terms of small- medium enterprises, as Andrea sort of touched on before, SMEs are kind of the lifeblood behind our economy. The New South Wales is home to about a third of them. We want to and are actively seeking to increase the number of the suppliers that we're dealing with. So there's a number of aspects that come to that and, one of the initiatives that we've put in place is the Local Trade Schemes. So you've probably seen, I mean, probably some of you watched "The Block" - it's a television show, people do up houses and units and stuff. I don't watch it personally 'cause I don't watch television. But hipages is one of the companies that advertise quite heavily through that particular program. So some of them - some of you would be aware of who they are. We've partnered with hipages, we chose them through a tender process, Andrea's team helped us in that space, and we've put in this Local Trade Scheme. So this is about local tradies looking after New South Wales schools. So instead of - and it's probably more relevant in reality for regional small businesses and micro-businesses than it is for for Metropolitan Sydney. It is Metropolitan Sydney, it's across everywhere in the state. However, in reality, what we want to be doing is we want the businesses' that are close to the school to be able to have the opportunity to bid for work on that school. So it's not a good look for a government agency to be flying a team out to work, from a major city or a major regional population area, into a small remote area to do the work. We really want to engage with the locals, so that's what this is about. Across New South Wales, we've got 1.3 billion in planned school maintenance over five years, that's a big chunk of cash. We need to get the - we've spent this year in basically getting the backlog done, but in the future years, we’ll be very much still in that planned maintenance space.

The Local Trade Scheme is basically able to allow bid for work, up to $50,000 dollars, in that local area. It's that painting of walls, replacing carpet, windows, doors, repairing or replacing floor coverings, roofing, that sort of thing. So it's really about getting right down to the local level, instead of what was happening in the past, which is where we would engage the whole-of-government facilities maintenance contractor, who would then pass it on to their subcontractor and another subcontractor, eventually to get down to the tradie who was doing the work anyway. But not really getting the - we weren't going direct to them. It's about cutting out the middleman and about finding a way to get directly to them, but also ensure that we meet the government's requirement of paying within a short period of time. So our plan is, so within five days of having that particular piece of work done, you'll have your payment, so we're working through the nuances of that now. But please feel free to jump onto that local - there's a link there, we'll make sure that we send the link out when we send the communication out, but the Local Trade Scheme - you can either access it off our website, you can access it off the hipages website. If you wanna join up to it, there's no cost to join if you're just going to do work for education. If you're gonna still do work as part of the hipages normal process, that's between you and hipages, that's not really our concern. But from our point of view, if you're doing work for education, there's no cost to be joining on and being a part of that particular process.

How do we support - source our suppliers? Well, it's the number of things and it kinda depends on the particular work, whether it fits into construction or maintenance, the type of the work and the size of the project. So, as I kind of touched on before, we have the Asset Management Units around the state - they are looking at projects, kind of below $10 million dollars, as well as the maintenance type work, whereas the team here, in George Street, are the $10 million and above type projects. So, it sort of depends on what type of work we're looking for. For us, it's, a lot of the times, it's construction focused or a capital professional service, something like a project manager or quantity surveyor or cost manager or architect or engineering or whatever. But, in the maintenance area, or in the AMUs, it's kind of - there's a very broad range and it's far more the hands-on, it's more of the constructors, the builders, that type of thing. The main ways we source those are, we want to, obviously, focus on Aboriginal-owned enterprises, so please make sure that you drop that line to Christine, it's really important. The hipages portal is something that we're very much going to be focusing on, that sort of low value stuff, it gives us the ability to engage with a great deal of very small companies. We have our own SINSW panels. So, at the moment, we have project managers, we have cost managers, architects, educational consultants, planners, arborists, but we're looking to expand these in the future to engineering disciplines and the like. We've just actually gone back out for a refresh for our architect, project manager and cost manager, and they're in evaluation at the moment. The statutory planner one will be out in the market again shortly for a refresh. In terms of the Prequalification Schemes, we use the whole-of-government Prequalification Schemes, and the AMUs mostly source their work through those. So there's 0256, which is basically the builders below $1 million; there's 1461, which is above a million; the 1191, which is the consultants in construction; and 0005, which is performance and management services.

Onto the ten-point plan - about 18 months ago, the government, through its Construction Leadership Group, issued the ten-point plan. In a nutshell, it's about working collaboratively, simplifying it and making it easier to work with government through a reduction in bureaucracy and red tape, also trying to make it - to standardise some of the documentation. So if you're doing, construction work with health infrastructure or with justice infrastructure or with schooling, then you have the similar sort of documentation to be able to deliver with, so some standardisation that we're looking at there. That's close to being finalised at the moment. We also need to be able to be monitoring and rewarding high performance. So, there's always been a consultant performance, or a contractor performance, report through those Prequalification Schemes I touched on before. We're very much going to be making more use of those, to ensure that we're monitoring both how a contractor or consultant works for us, but also to ensure that we're meeting our obligations in there as well. Every contract is two ways, so we need to make sure that we're doing our bit, and then we'll reward those that are performing well and have the capacity and capability of doing more work with us. Again, if you talk to Christine, if you're an Aboriginal enterprise, she'll definitely make sure that we can help you understand those government processes.

Now, in terms of the current projects, we have a pipeline and that kind of spans the whole of the state. It's - next slide, please - The whole of the state is covered in terms of the major projects. So these ones that we've got currently on the screen here kind of reflect the major projects, that the Infrastructure Planning or Infrastructure Delivery Teams based out of here, are looking at. So whether those projects are in plan, design or delivery stage, for either a new school or a major school upgrade. As you can see, with the circle in the middle there, the large one, Sydney is kind of the big focus - I guess that's because that's where the population growth is, and that's where it's been coming from, and that's where it's identified to be 80%, as I mentioned before in the future. But it doesn't show - and this is where I, unfortunately, I don't have a diagram or a map - doesn't show you where we're working around the state. But I mean, essentially 2,250 schools, every one of them needs to be maintained, so every school you can think of is going to have some work to be done at some point in time. So we wanna know about who you are and where you're from. I was hoping to be able to share the full pipeline, which is - but it's going through the final approvals. It is going to be advertised in the next kind of 48 hours, or so they tell me. So again, it'll be one of the things we send out - when we send out the link to the hipages, we'll also send you out a link to where that pipeline is showing up on our website.

In terms of what's on the screen here, this was just a kind of a precursor to maybe start the conversation around some of the challenges that you might have, some of the things you might be thinking about, maybe as a bit of a precursor into the Question and Answer sort of scenario we're gonna go into in a few minutes time, but I thought I'd sort of touch on some of these to start with. In terms of getting work with us, that red one at the top left-hand corner, register for the Prequalification Scheme is a really good starting point. If you're struggling, or you don't have - you're not quite sure what information to provide, or if you're an Aboriginal business, please contact Christine as well. We wanna know about you, we wanna hear from you. There are, as I mentioned before, a few Prequalification Schemes that are relevant for us - 0256 and 1461 in that construction space, 1191 is the consultants in construction, that's another one that's important to us, that's all the different services that go into the construction. So, as I mentioned before, PMs and cost managers and engineering et cetera. 0005 is the performance and management services scheme, that has a few different ones that are not covered off in consultants in construction, although there is some overlap. If you're unsure again as to which one you wanna go for, or which one you should be thinking about, again, drop an email to Christine, she'll help you. We really want to have someone being that face of Infrastructure to be able to help people. It's not just being the unfriendly government, we wanna be there to walk you through it and show you how to get on there so that you've got a really good crack at getting some work.

The top right one, the underlying principle of value for money, that's kind of an interesting one. People think that government selects on lowest price, it's not the case. When we do an evaluation of the tenders that have been released, it's not just about price. Price is definitely a component, but price isn't just the main thing. We're looking at your capability, your capacity - like if you've already got - if you've only got a couple of staff and they're already flat out, then we might look at you and go, you don't have the capacity or you're not demonstrating the capacity to be able to take on additional work. We wanna know that they've got the capability set, so we're gonna ask about your team and what their capabilities are like, so that you can - so that we can make sure that they're going to be able to deliver, we're not gonna leave you or us stranded. It's about understanding of the project that we - say you need to show that you've got that demonstration, demonstrate an understanding of the project that we're putting to you to deliver for us, and the methodology that you're gonna be able to deliver it with. So these are the things that we take into play, including price. So, there's no point, and quite often, there'll be situations where we'll cut someone adrift, who may be that the cheapest price, because they haven't demonstrated they've actually got capacity to do it or capability to do it. I mean, if my - think about it in a logical term, if my task is to get 10 pallets across from Sydney to Adelaide, I'm just picking an example off the top of my head, then a guy with a car is not - he might be the cheapest, but he's not gonna be able to get 10 pallets worth of wood, or 10 pallets worth of product, to Adelaide just with a car, so we're looking for a truck or some other way. So, it's about being appropriately - with the appropriate capacity and capability. Don't be afraid to ask the contact officer questions during the tender period. That's what they're there for, right? If you're not sure of something, chances are there's someone else out there that also isn't quite sure. That could be that we haven't been quite clear enough as we should be, when we've developed our scope or our statement of requirements, please ask the question, because that also helps us to make sure that in the future, we're putting out more easily read and understood scopes. But definitely ask the questions.

The briefings - another thing, always attend the supplier briefing. If you get the opportunity, if there's one being held for a particular tender or market engagement, it's always good to contextualize things. I mean, everybody knows that you go and ask a lawyer to review a document - you get three different lawyers to deal with, you get three different answers. People read things different ways. If you go to a supplier briefing and the tender team is gonna be there explaining exactly what they need, therefore, you're gonna understand exactly what we're looking for. It's a really kind of a valuable component, I would really strongly encourage it. And as a flow on from that, at the end, if you're unsuccessful, don't miss out on that opportunity for a debrief. It's kind of really critical. It's not about having a shot at you for missing it, it's about helping you learn where the gaps are in your response, so that next time you've got a better chance of winning it. There'll be times where we'll say to you, and we'll provide that feedback, it’ll be - it might be that you didn't demonstrate that you had enough capability or capacity, you didn't demonstrate you understood the project, you might have been too much too expensive against someone else who was able to do all of those things. There'll be a number of reasons why you may be unsuccessful, but that's a really key thing and I would actually even, to be quite honest, having run tenders now for 25 years, I'd even advise that if you're a successful tender, or tenderer, it's always still valuable to get a debrief, because just because you're successful this time doesn't mean that you can't improve your position for next time, and it doesn't mean that, if your competition gets better that, you may not be able to be - you may not be, just by resting on your laurels, you may not be successful next time. So I would suggest everybody that responds to a tender, if you get offered a debrief, take that opportunity.

In terms of knowing your customer, so we've - I was supposed to touch on it and I've obviously missed it in one of my slides, about the fact that we're gonna come out and do some regional engagements. So, we always plan to do that, not quite sure depending on COVID as to when these are gonna happen, but it'll definitely be in the second half of this year, COVID allowing, where we'll come out and we'll talk to you face to face - I know that's kind of a long, a lot, what most of you actually prefer, you wanna actually have a face to a name. Christine will come with me, Lyn will come with me. We'll be out there, we'll be talking to you. But the other thing we'll do is we'll run some sessions on how to respond to a tender, so kind of like a training session, and so when certain questions are asked, and we'll show you what a good response looks like, and how you need to craft your answers and how you need to respond. Because I recognise that there's probably a lot of you that are responding to tenders, who have the capacity and the capability to be able to do it, but you're not putting it across – it's not coming across in your tender that gives us enough confidence. So this is about how we can add value to you by showing you how to do it and what we're looking for.

So some of that's - moving on to the next one - it's about building relationships. So, very happy for you to have a relationship with Christine. So Christine will make sure that she knows who you are, you know who she is, you've got a point of contact. But there is a point within the tender process where we need to be kind of at arms length. So, when it starts in the tender process, that would be where we'd asked you to kind of limit your engagements, to just within the rules of that particular tender engagement. So, that's the time where you'd be - going back to one of those earlier points - that's the time where you'd be talking to the contact officer and asking the questions. But we're really keen to to work with everybody, and to get some real runs on the board here. I think that the last two - know how to work with government and get to know is SINSW, know what's important to them - I've already touched on those two through those earlier topics that I've touched on. It's about understanding all the components. If we've asked a question in the tender, it's pretty straightforward, that's because that's important to us. If we haven't really asked about it, then it's kind of not one of the things we're focusing on. When we do a tender evaluation, we tend to weight various different components. So it could be - there'd be a weighting against price, there'd be a weighting against capacity and capability, be another one against the methodology, there'd be another one against your understanding of the project - and they're all weighted, they're not weighted the same and they're not necessarily weighted in any particular order of preference. But if it's something that we've asked a question about, chances are it aligns directly to something that's important to us, and therefore something that we're going to be assessing you on. So, just keep that in mind when you're responding.

I think that kinds of gets to, where we wanna get to in terms of what we're looking for, so we wanna continue to meaningfully - to work meaningfully in partnership with businesses' to build a sector that's viable and competitive, achieves financial and beneficial outcomes for Aboriginal-owned businesses and SMEs, and how it does that in a meaningful way with the broader community. So I guess, from my point of view, that's a little bit about where we're coming from and what School Infrastructure is and what we've got ahead of us. We've got an unprecedented amount of work so we wanna be working with you, we wanna be talking to as many of you as possible, we wanna be seeing as many of you as possible turning up on our tenders to be able to be successful on our tenders, and to be delivering this once in a generational type level of investment in schools in New South Wales. So, time is critical now, so, let us know who you are. I'm gonna pass across to Andrea again now, she can kind of –

Q & A with Andrea Patrick and Paul Hannan

Andrea: No, that's great. Thanks, Paul. And look, this session is - you're actually guinea pigs for us. It's the first time we've done a webinar, and I know we're not quite TV presenter standard. But the challenge of presenting to a screen where we can't see anything, someone else is controlling your presentation, has been it's been an interesting session, but, hopefully, you did learn something. There is still time to submit questions. We're gonna go over to the questions that we've received, and we're gonna answer as many as we can live. If we do need a little bit more information to respond to any of the questions, we will seek that after the event and give a full response. So you will receive the full list of questions and answers, whether you've asked the question specifically or not. You will have heard Christine Yorkston name mentioned throughout the presentation. And yes, we will be sending Christine's contact details out, so that you do have the channel in which to correspond with Christine, take up Paul's great offer there to kind of follow up.

We'll also be sending out links, 'cause we've mentioned a lot of Prequal Schemes, a lot of links to different information. So, just to alleviate that pressure off Christine, we will send all these links with a little brief description of what they cover in terms of the services and infrastructure, goods and services. So that might be helpful as well. So we'll go across to the questions. Now, there is some questions around what we've covered today. Predominantly, it has been infrastructure spend, and that was the intent of today's session. So I do apologize if some of you have joined the session expecting us to talk about different categories. If you go to our Supplying to Us pages, you will find the full series of events. Some of these forums or webinars are gonna be focused purely on a category to give very specific information to suppliers of - associated with that category. We also do some more general Supplying to Us sessions, you will find some of the information we do cover is similar, if not the same, certainly around hints and tips. What Paul covered there is as relevant to more or less any tender as it is to an infrastructure tender, and he made a good point around probity, we do have to be careful, there is a fine line between how much information we can give and support, once a tender has been published or is entrained. So, if you can just respect that, that would be really appreciated, and as Paul said, it just migrates from possibly talking to someone in procurement, to then talking to and following the guidelines and instructions that are articulated in the tender documentation, and it really does cover how to communicate and clarify questions. So but yeah, as I say, we will send Christine's details and we are talking about infrastructure categories today.

So, I'll just bring up the questions. So someone's asked for contingent human resources, do we use 007 DFS panel, or is there a separate arrangement or panel internally? So, it is actually a New South Wales Treasury now, DFSI don't exist anymore, and the link I gave you for the New South Wales Buy takes you to where you can find details of the Prequal Schemes. The department does utilize their Contingent Labour Human Resources 007 panel, and we also have a VMS, so we don't generally connect with providers or temporary resources. That's a managed service that we've outsourced, but if you've registered on that panel, that is the panel we utilize to engage suppliers. Again, what we're really keen on that panel is we do find - there's not that many SMEs and Aboriginal owned businesses, I think there's only five Aboriginal-owned businesses on that panel, so if you are a provider of contingent labour, really encourage you to go through the registration process. And if you do find that there's a challenge in that registration process, reach out to Christine and articulate what you're unable to meet, or speak to the panel owner first and raise your concerns, and just challenge them if they’re pushing you back in any area of that registration, because we - there's some areas where we can be a little bit more flexible than other areas, around some of the requirements that we do request of suppliers. We do find some challenges for SMEs and Aboriginal-owned businesses, certainly when there’s not quite the capacity or capability when aligned with larger organisations.

So I was asked if there's any spend in food. We've not covered food, particularly today, but we do have catering, both at a corporate level and at school. Now, obviously, food could be quite a broad subject, there's a whole-of-government contract for catering, so again, you might want to just seek that out and see what the process is when it's coming up for tender or if it's a registration process. Generally, food, we have licensing agreements for canteens, and then there's the kind of catering which are ad-hoc, aligned to individual requirements. In terms of professional services, as Paul mentioned, I'll probably twofold response here, we do use the Performance and Management Services Scheme and the whole-of-government panel for professional services, but I'll hand over to Paul, who could talk a little bit about some of the schemes in the construction space, because they do utilize over and complement the PMSS with other schemes. So Paul, do you want to just expand a little bit on the schemes for professional services?

Paul: So as I sort of touched on before, the ones that we use, specifically 0256, which is construction services up to $1 million, then there's 4961, which is the one for above $1 million. The one - that's 0256 - that's mandated, we must use that. We do have the ability below 50,000 to engage directly, but that's kind of separate to that. In the consultants in construction space, we use the 1191, which is Consultants in Construction Prequalification Scheme. We do use the Performance and Management Services Scheme, which is 0005, and I think that's it for us. 4961, 1191, 256 - yeah, that's it.

Andrea: We could actually do a panel scheme bingo with all these numbers. But as I said, we will send details out of the panels so we don't expect you to remember all the different references. They may mean different - some people are very familiar with Prequal Schemes, others might be new to doing business with the Department of New South Wales Government, so we will send links and it will become self-explanatory about what these schemes cover.

Paul: I think I might just add one little extra point there. I still really encourage you to let us know who you are. I guess, from our point of view, we might go and look at some particular category on 0005, and there could be 600 suppliers - we're looking to invite half a dozen at max, kind of more likely it's gonna be three or four, because of the dollar value of the engagements. So, it's really valuable for us to know, especially if you're a regional supplier, that we - because it doesn't quite always let us know if you've got an office - it might be, you might be about to do a piece of work in Dubbo, you might have an office in Dubbo that might really work quite nicely for us – but we might not know that through easily by finding that through the Prequal Scheme, so happy for you guys to contact us. That doesn't mean you're gonna get a gig, I don't want people assuming that just - whoa, whoa, I've seen that they've got a job coming up in Dubbo, therefore I'm gonna get it automatically - it doesn't work that way. But let us know that you're interested in it, and we'll certainly consider you.

Andrea: Okay, thanks, Paul. We've got a question - it's quite a timely question from an Aboriginal-owned business that recently missed out on the furniture Prequal Scheme, whole-of-government level, and they were informed the reason was they didn't have the ISO 9001. You'd be pleased to learn that that scheme is being retendered at the moment, it's been reconfigured as well to really think - we did a lot of consultation with Aboriginal-owned businesses, SMEs, with Schools Infrastructure, who are heavy users of this scheme, and also we reviewed how we could make it more inclusive. Now the tender notice will be on New South Wales eTendering system, so please register on our eTendering system, so you do get a notification of when the tender is issued, and I think that you will find, it is a lot more flexible. In saying that, it also begs another question, because when you find in a tender that asks a question specifically - and the ISO 9000 is basically a quality assurance type question - if you don't actually hold what specifically they're asking you to hold, please think about answering, rather than just say no, think about an alternative. So what quality assurance processes do you have in place as an alternative and outline those? If it's a requirement, and insurance is always an interesting one because a lot of schemes are the high value associated with insurance, that generally a lot of SMEs and Aboriginal-owned businesses don't need that level of insurance for their general work. So if the tender quote asks, for example, a $20 million public liability insurance, but you only have 5 million or 10 million, just respond to say, ‘Yes, I have public liability insurance of 5 million, or whatever the value may be, and if I'm successful, award-of-contract, you would be willing to consider increasing it to the appropriate value. So that will score and be evaluated very positively, versus you saying, ‘No, I don't meet this requirement’. So, just slightly different ways of answering various questions can make the difference, about you going through to a second stage or being awarded a contract. And as Paul said, all tenders have contact officers. So if there's a question that you struggling to respond to, or don't think you have in place, reach out to the contract officer and clarify, is there an alternative to what you've asked for that would be acceptable? And then at least you've not eliminated yourself from a process, unnecessarily so.

Okay, we've got a comment rather than question about difficulty engaging the Department of Education. The department recognise we are quite a difficult department to engage with, predominantly because we do have, technically what I would call, over 2,200 small businesses out there, and if there's any farmers on the call, you'll appreciate that's a little bit like herding sheep. So, this is why we're doing these sessions, we're trying to reach out to you, we're trying to put names to faces from the department. We are going to provide you with a named contact, which hopefully will address that issue around being able to contact. It's great to hear as well, a comment around that some of you have Modern Slavery Policies in place. Due to the Commonwealth Department of Defense, the Commonwealth Government already have the Modern Slavery Act in place and enforced, so those of you who currently do business with Commonwealth will be familiar. So it's great to know that you can leverage off that, as in when you do business with New South Wales Government.

Okay. So I'm just gonna hand this one - so Paul, we've got a question, what would be the right whole-of-government Prequalification Scheme for asset management technology providers? Is there one or would that be a bespoke tender process?

Paul: Well, I would - it's kind of that's a difficult question. I think that at the end of the day, there's an ICT Services Scheme that's in place, it's a mandated contract, and so therefore, for us to buy any type of technology, we don't have a choice about stepping outside of that particular mandated government contract. So there are - oh sorry Prequalification Scheme - there are, and just so for clarity’s sake, there are some contracts and Prequalification Schemes in place for government, to take a half a step back, that are mandated for the government agencies to use, and there are some that we kind of have the choice whether we use it or not. Now, obviously, good practice always suggests that, if there's a scheme in place or a contract in place, even if it's not mandated, that you use it anyway, right? That's kind of fairly logical. But if it's a mandated one, we really just don't have the choice. So in that particular instance, I would say that it would be my advice to get yourself onto the ICT Services Scheme as a prequalified provider of asset management technology, and if, for instance, you end up in a situation where there isn't a prequel - like there isn't a particular, subsection of that particular scheme that is specifically for asset management, then I would suggest that you take the advice on whoever's the running of the scheme. So that would be New South Wales Procurement, or NSW Buy now, and they would be able to give you some advice on where you need to be on there, given the fact that you need to be on there for us to be able to access it. Does it make sense, I think?

Andrea: It does. So basically, we will send the link to the scheme. When you access that link, you'll see contact details of who manages that scheme, but also get guidelines from a supplier’s perspective, how you register. So it provides all the information in there, so - and it is a mandated scheme, so that's a - you wouldn't only get access to asset management technology requirements in the Department of Education, you'd get access to all whole-of-government. You'd be visible to all departments and agencies, if they have any requirements in that space, that's the benefit of the whole-of-government panels and schemes. Okay, so Paul, we've got a question just to clarify - did you mention that an engineering panel would be introduced in the future, and are you able to advise if a specific land and engineering survey panel will be introduced?

Paul: Okay. So in terms of engineering, it is something we're looking at at the moment. At this point in time, I think the first ones we're looking for are civil and structural and we're looking at mechanical, electrical, fire, hydraulic, that type of thing. Land and engineering surveying panel is something that we would look at, it's not something that I can give you a definite about at this point in time. I think it's something that we - there would be probably some value to it because, to my understanding, there isn't a - for surveys, there's no - there's nothing in place at the moment. So, I've just double checked with my phone-a-friend in the room here, to check to make sure that there isn't one in place. So, there would be some logic from our point of view, we'll take that one as an interest from the marketplace, and we'll certainly look at - obviously we do engage surveyors, it is something that we do on every one of our projects. We do a competitive tenders at the moment for those that are above $30,000 dollars, as kind of stipulated, because there isn't a prequel scheme in place for it, but it is something that we would certainly - it'd be amongst the mix that we would look at doing.

Andrea: Okay. Thanks, Paul.

Paul: [Unintelligible] - that's all. Sorry, it's all good.

Andrea: Okay. So we've got a question, whether or not there's a minimum amount of time an indigenous business needs to have been operating before working with government. There is no minimum time, however you may want to think about what did you do previously to the setting up your business. So again, it's thinking about how you respond to tenders and quotations, and how you demonstrate your capacity, capability to meet the requirements of any tender and quotation. So, think about being a bit creative in the response, bringing what experience, expertise you may have from previous roles or what you did prior to setting up your business. But yeah, we are very keen, as mentioned in the presentations, to support the growth of SMEs and Aboriginal-owned businesses, so it shouldn't be a barrier. It doesn't mean, again, it won't be a little bit of a challenge, so please build your business, take those lower, perhaps some lower value, local roles, canvas your local area to build up a little bit of a trend that you can really evidence your previous experience. There's no stipulated length of time an Aboriginal business has to have been in business. The only challenge, and it kinda goes back to a previous response about - some of the panels do ask for three years accounts, and that's one of the areas that I would suggest, if you come up against a question, which you haven't been in business sufficiently long enough to respond appropriate to what the requirements is, it's just reached out to the contacts associated with that panel, and just see, challenge the question or offer an alternative assurance or an alternative response, and just see if that's acceptable. There's some - and it's all judged in terms of risk when we do business and setup panels, so it will be assessed and you will be informed, but I always ask the question and think of how we can find a solution rather than just see it as a barrier for not responding.

Okay. There's a question around delivering soft skills, training on mental health support to students and teachers. We will respond to that offline, we've not got the right people or experts or subject matter experts on the call today, given that we're talking about infrastructure, but we've got your question and we will follow up post-this-session. Will there be more detailed sessions for small businesses and Aboriginal-owned businesses? So again, one of the links we'll send you will be to our Supplying towards Us webpage. All our events are listed there, whether it's a category-specific event - the next category, I believe is, the IT category, that we will do a deeper dive, unpacking the IT category and how to do business if you're an IT provider. There's also some areas which are just general type Meet the Buyer, general cover in a number of the smaller categories, where possibly there isn't a Prequal Scheme or the mandated contracts arrangement already in place. So all details in there. Again, if you've got ideas on what you want us to cover, share that with Christine when we send Christine's details out - the things that you think you would find really beneficial, because that would help inform our thinking. As I mentioned in the introduction, this session came about because we did the Small Business Month last October, and the feedback we got from attendees was, can we have some category-specific sessions? So we do listen, take on board your feedback, so please provide that and we'll evaluate it and see what we can do. Okay, Paul, are projects on the infrastructure website delivered through the eTendering website or some direct - or are some direct with infrastructure?

Paul: Okay. So, when - to give some context, there's - the New South Wales Government signed up for the Enforceable Procurement Provision, so within the International Trade Agreements basically. So that means that, from our point of view, when we're going out to run a contractor - to get a builder, to do a particular job - if it's gonna be an excess of $9.247 million, we are required to do one of two things: one of those things is to use the existing Prequalification Schemes to source the suppliers that are invited for that particular tender, or to go out to an open tender. Because if we're gonna step outside of those particular Prequal Schemes, that's the two choices that we sort of have. For the most part, and I would say that in all instances so far, although it may not always be the case, we've used the Prequalification Schemes to go and source the particular suppliers that we invite to respond to those particular opportunities. That is something that we would continue to do, it's an appropriate methodology for us. One of the things is that we are, through the ten-point plan, which I kind of touched on before required to try and reduce the cost of tendering administration for companies that are trying to bid for work, at the top end of town, that the pieces of work we do are kind of quite expensive when they're building – sorry - when they're bidding for that piece of work. It can be notionally up to sort of between three and 5% of the cost of the project for a company to respond to a project. So that's a hell of an impost on a company to respond to multiple tenders if they're not being successful. So we tend to only invite three or four companies to respond to our tenders of those Prequalification Schemes. The - we don't have a choice for those that are below $1 million, so the Asset Management Units most definitely do use 0256 - that's one of those Prequalification Schemes I mentioned before – and they do use that. And we do utilise the eTendering website as the engagement path through that particular - so we will invite those companies via the eTendering website, they'll respond via the eTendering website, but those opportunities will not be available or be seen by others that are not been invited. It's kind of - so in a roundabout way, yes, we use eTendering, but it's not an open tender. There will be times where we will run open tenders, if there's not a panel in place, or there's something that we can't source directly, or we wanna go out to the open market - there's many opportunities and - but we're fairly, well -credentialed in that space to go and run them off our Prequalification Scheme. So for the most part, we utilise those schemes.

Andrea: Okay. Thanks, Paul. Paul, you mentioned the project pipeline in your - during your presentation. There's a question about how do we get details? Where will that be published or-?

Paul: So we'll provide through this particular - however we do this link – we will provide the link to it, it'll come up on our website. I'm just - I don't know what the link is yet because it's not finalised to put on there, so I can't even provide the link, but I will - as soon as it's available, and my Executive Director tells me it'll be available from tomorrow, so I'm gonna hope that that's the case. 'Cause I've gone out on a limb now and said it will be -

Andrea: [jokingly] Never believe an Executive Director

Paul: [laughs] So with a bit of luck, that'll be actually available. We'll make sure that we send it out to the respondents on this so that everybody's got that, with the rest of the links that you'd kind of mentioned earlier, Andrea.

Andrea: Yeah, and another valid point around this, you may or may not be aware that - social media, such as LinkedIn, Schools Infrastructure have a LinkedIn page and there's lots of prompts and notices come through that, and the Department of Education. So do utilise LinkedIn as an option as well, just to get those little kind of prompts when something's happening. There is also a two year procurement plan on the eTendering system for goods and services. Paul is this - is the plan published - is the pipeline plan you referred to your equivalent of your procurement plan?

Paul: Yeah, absolutely. That's exactly why we've gone down this - this particular pathway. It's something that we've wanted to do for a long time - to let the market know what's happening, what we're doing, that we're open for business, that we’re - there's opportunities to be had. It's just been - it's been a bit of a struggle with the volume, the pure volume of work that we've having to deal with, and to just give people a kind of a context - we're sitting at, somewhere around right today, 240 active tenders my team are working on right now. So there is one hell of a lot of work going on behind the scenes. Now not all of those are the construction ones for above $10 million, some of those are for the construction professional services that the project managers, the cost managers - could be a survey one, that someone asked about before, all of those sorts of things. We're running them all the time. So again, take that prompt, contact Christine, let us know, especially if you see something on that pipeline that you're interested in, even more so if you're a regional supplier in that area, really kind of keen. If you - if we've got a project down in Wagga Wagga and you're a particular organisation down there, we wanna know about it.

Andrea: Okay. So two main sources of information, we'll be sending a link that will detail the project pipeline for infrastructure and also, if you've registered on the New South Wales Government eTendering solution, the two-year project plan for goods and services is detailed on there, so that gives you great insights about what tenders, in addition to registering where appropriate, with the panel that covers the goods and services, because if it's not an open tender, it's the panels, the Prequal Schemes, that we would go to - to select suppliers, to participate in certain procurement activities. Paul, another question, how do you get in touch with your local Asset Management Unit?

Paul: So I would suggest that right at the moment, I would say, let's leave that at Christine. The reason I'm gonna go down that particular path is we’re re-looking at, or we're looking at, how we're going to have a coordinated approach to procurement, and so the Asset Management Units are gonna go through a change in that procurement space in the not too distant future. And so therefore to that end, rather than someone kind of contacting someone at that particular local level and then things changing in two months time and they feel like they've been let down or led astray, I'd rather they came through Christine, and then Christine can coordinate and make sure that the Asset Management Unit gets that information and the right person in that asset management gets that - now in the future, that may be different, but right now the way we wanna do it is through Christine.

Andrea: That's great. Okay. Another great, kind of question around disabled-owned Businesses or ADEs. Do we have any policies around engaging with the disabled-owned Businesses and those who hire disabled people? Yeah, it was probably an omission on our part what we didn't explicitly state this throughout the presentations, but where we have an SME imaginal policy and Aboriginal owned business policy, and we have a 250,000 kind of limit where we can go directly - Australian Disability Enterprises, we have an unlimited threshold so where we have an opportunity, the policy is we can engage up to any amounts. So again, if you are an ADE, please provide your details to Christine. If it's not specifically infrastructure, Christine will have the contacts and be able to signpost your inquiry to the correct contact within the department. So, very much so there is a policy, and the department are very supportive and, most recently, I was talking earlier about the COVID situation. We did actually engage an ADE because, very quickly, the department had to establish a logistics process for warehousing. We centrally procured lots of personal protective equipment, lots of hygiene products, we quickly have to source a warehouse to put all the stock in and we engaged an ADE to help us pack the boxes that went out to schools, so you played a fantastic part in the recent COVID pandemic. So there are opportunities and there are policies that really support agencies, such as the Department of Education, to engage ADEs. Paul, we have a question and can you engage Client Side Project Management via SCM 0005, or must you be on SCM 1191? I apologise if people aren't familiar with these numbers, these are references to whole-of-government arrangements.

Paul: Okay. So we do a number of ways engage PMs. So we have our own panels in place. We've done that - fairly recently, we've just gone out to a refresh our panels and that's in evaluation at the moment. We do use - should that not be suitable, we do use 1191 more than we use 0005, but we do use 0005 as well. So in all honesty, there's a piece of work happening in the background at the moment, we're engaging with New South Wales Treasury because there is a number of overlaps. So we have consultants and construction overlaps with 0005 and, in some instances, with the - you have the GAO one as well, which is a Government Architects Office, one for architects, and so there is definitely some - at whole-of-government level, they're looking at kind of rationalising these back into a more meaningful, one size fits all, because otherwise you're gonna be, Oh God, I've got to go and register on a different scheme. It's a bit nonsensical. So they're looking at that at the moment, putting a commercial framework involved there to make it more - more workable for businesses, so they don't have to go and kind of be registered all over the place. So, first of all, we use our own panels, but we also do have 11191 and then kind of fall back 0005.

Andrea: Okay. So I'm getting lots of questions, it's fantastic, and hopefully you're getting something out of the responses and guiding us to what's - what information's important to you. We are gonna just kind of try and get through as many of these. So the next couple of questions will be included in the FAQ, we've kind of touched on it a little bit - but would Schools Infrastructure consider doing a selective tender for Aboriginal-owned businesses only? Under the APiC, we would where the guidelines allow and where there is, through the consultation that's undertaken, very evidently, an Aboriginal-owned business would be the most beneficial to the outcomes we're trying to achieve. Paul also talks about the Enforceable Procurement Provisions, which are the international trade agreements. Where we're trying to get outcomes for Aboriginal people or businesses and SMEs - that is an excluded element from the EPPs in some circumstances, so there is some provisions through our policies, through the procurement provisions, to do Aboriginal-owned businesses, and we have actually done that in the past. In terms of how do you suggest that Aboriginal-owned businesses find opportunities to direct source on the APiC? Now the symbol in the question says greater than 250 - I'm not too sure if that was the intent or not - but again, we've mentioned Christine. Christine's gonna be key to a lot of these questions, where we can just get a little bit more information about your business and really signpost you to the best way to get that outcome. So again, those two questions will be fully responded to, and I think Christine will have a critical part to play, if you reach out once we've sent her contact details. Okay, so - next question. Okay, are you considering smaller chunks of work to Indigenous businesses to contribute to our growth from an early stage, rather than just when we get large? As we've spoken the - we can award contracts less than $250,000, so they're the small chunks of work to an Aboriginal-owned business. The enabler will be, if you - we do encourage you to be registered with Supply Nation or the ICC, because they are the ways in which we validate the status, as well as interstate equivalence of those registrations. Again, Christine can support and help inform you about how to go about that. We have recently signed a whole-of-government agreement with Supply Nation to get their data of Aboriginal-owned businesses and, as I said, an API, which is - and I'm not a technician - but it's a way in which we can exchange and update that data directly into our intranet, and we just need to develop a front end to make it user friendly for schools. That will really increase the opportunities and the ease of access for our schools to find Aboriginal-owned businesses, certainly for those low-value engagements, and the low-value engagements in the early stages is so critical for Aboriginal-owned businesses and SMEs, to then give you the foundations to build on and grow, which is the intent - we really want growth in this area.

Paul: I agree, I was just gonna add a little bit to that. So, absolutely we would want to know - So first component about that is knowing who you are and what your capability set is, so that will help us to kind of look to see if there's opportunities that we can work with you. The other thing is the Local Trade Scheme - so there's gonna be that link that will come out, so that's that hipages one I talked about before - that's more to do with your tradies though, so if you're a builder that can do a piece of work up to $25,000, right – yes, you could potentially put yourself onto the 0256 Prequalification Scheme, but I would argue that it's probably valuable for you to be on that Local Trade Scheme as well. You can do work up to $50,000, you get - as Andrea sort of touched on before, if you kinda get a number of those runs on the board, that can help you with your prequalification status. There's a whole lot of things that kind of work together to get your sort of in a position where you're an attractive organisation to work with it from a government perspective. Especially when you're starting out, it is a tough - it's a tough gig. I have, many years ago when I was younger and better looking, I had my own business and it's a tough gig, it's a seriously tough gig. Seven days a week, never stopped, and so, yeah, it's whatever opportunities, yeah - but please reach out to Christine, she'll - she'll definitely wanna be able to help you.

Andrea: Okay. Thanks, Paul. We have a supplier who submitted a question, saying that they’re currently approved for scheme SCM 1461 contracts of prequalification up to the 3 million. What's the best process to build on that value and increase their project opportunities with the department? Do you have any advice, guidance on that?

Paul: Well, I'm going - I hate to throw Christine under the bus all the time here, but essentially 1461 is above the $1 million dollars. It's a challenging space because it also takes in the tier ones that are kind of dealing with the $200 million jobs as well. 1461, at the moment, is one of the ones they're looking at and looking at how they can fix it and get it more workable. I know Public Works Advisory had been doing some work on that, some during some recent times, but again because that's a space that our AMUs, our Asset Management Units, or our SINSW regional offices is - are definitely working in that sort of space, we wanna know about it. Now they do - when they go out for work, they do have a rotation system, so whenever they're inviting suppliers, they're not always utilising the same ones. They - we require them when they're putting forward a strategy to rotate through the suppliers that are available on those schemes, so that we are sharing it around. But there's a hell of a lot of suppliers, as you can imagine - any builder that's capable of building from a million, to an -like nothing - there's no top level - are all in that same 1461. So, you're - if you're prequalified to $3 million dollars, fire your details through to Christine, she'll - and we also wanna know about what areas do you wanna work in. If you're a Sydney based one, that's fine, you might not wanna do some work at Dubbo. If you're a Dubbo based one, you might not want to do work at Byron Bay, kind of. It's not just about telling us, a little bit about yourself and your capability and your capacity, but also where you're working, where your interest is, because then we have those Asset Management Units around the state, and we can certainly have a talk to my counterparts in there and make sure that they're considering everyone's opportunities.

Andrea: Thanks, Paul. And just to kind of build on that a little bit is - by pure definition of being an SME and, sometimes an Aboriginal owned business, don't feel obliged to bite off more than you can chew and state that you can service the whole New South Wales State, when you - when you're gonna find that a challenge, we - what we don't want is to set you up for failure, and if you then fail delivery, if you - you're asked to be in Dubbo one day, then Byron Bay, the next day, that could be quite a big challenge. So just be truthful and say what your capacity is, because we are keen to have local provision, local supply, local SMEs. You won't be doing yourself any disfavors by just saying, this is the region I cover, and as you get bigger and you get the growth, it doesn't mean to say you'll stay at that status. We will then work with you as you grow and you can take on a wider area. But it is important you don't answer how you - in the way you think we want to hear the answers, you answer in respective of what the capacity and capabilities of your organisation. Okay, another question around the Furniture Scheme - a supplier has an application currently in review, and whether it will be replaced by the new scheme. Yes, it will. So any applications currently reviewed - due to COVID, all current applications have been put on hold, because we had to re-direct a lot of our procurement resources into emergency sourcing activities. So we did close down a lot or put a lot of the schemes on hold. And being registered on the Prequal Scheme, it doesn't guarantee that there will be business. So it's not disadvantaged, as such, suppliers. It's a practical approach to the department and the whole-of-government had to take in terms of the COVID situation. Now, we also talked about the enforceable procurement provisions - a lot of the whole-of-government arrangements, historically, been noncompliant with the enforceable procurement provisions. So all or most schemes and panels and arrangements are having to take steps to become compliant. So the Furniture Scheme is being retendered and that, to me, is what we should be doing, because there are new businesses that joined the market. So it's important that we review the scheme. The way we do business and operate changes over time, and if the scheme isn't still meeting our requirements, it's important we listen to the suppliers, we listen to colleagues in the department and take the opportunity to put in place a scheme that's fit for purpose and will really open up opportunities for all suppliers. So the new scheme, you'll find we've done a lot of consultation with various stakeholders, and we've also taken bigger steps in terms of making it more appropriate for SMEs and Aboriginal own businesses to get onto the scheme. So, yes, you will have to apply, please be registered on the New South Wales eTender solution so you get all the notifications of when the tender goes live. And, I do apologize if this does create a little bit of work, but if you have registered, you will find a lot of that information will be able to re - be reused for the new tender process. Okay. Paul, would Schools Infrastructure New South Wales consider select procurement opportunities for indigenous businesses for capital works over $1 million?

Paul: Absolutely. It's - we would absolutely consider inviting indigenous businesses for work over $1 million, depending upon their prequalification status, their capability, the capacity. We have already done this for work above $1 million in the past, so it's certainly - it's not a barrier, but what you do need to be is you need to be appropriately qualified, and prequalified on that particular scheme, for us to make use of you. If you're struggling with that, contact Christine, she'll help you kind of find your way through that particular minefield. But yeah, absolutely.

Andrea: Okay. And another good question, 'cause what are the things that we're looking at is, certainly in the goods and services space, is looking at some of our larger tenders and breaking up into smaller lots that may be more of, kind of aligned to SMEs and Aboriginal-owned businesses. So in the Schools Infrastructure space, are you considering breaking up major projects into smaller projects to give Aboriginal-owned businesses and SMEs an opportunity?

Paul: I would have to say that, if there's a project that we've got to rebuild a school and it's gonna cost us $30 million, chances are, we're doing planned maintenance on the school, up the road, that's half a million dollars, or we're doing - for the school around the corner that we're spending $1 million dollars putting a new roof on, or we're putting another COLA, covered outdoor learning area, or we're doing some landscape gardening or we're painting or we’re doing new carpets or whatever. So I would say that it's horses for courses. So I think that in the major space we’re - we are rebuilding or building a brand new school, I don't think we're likely to split that up. But that being said, that doesn't mean we don't have opportunities. We have far more volume in our Asset Management Units in terms of procurements that go out to the market than we do in the major space. So that $1.3 billion dollars that we had to spend over five years, doesn't sound as much as the 6.7, which is the - for the new schools. But there's tens of thousands of jobs that are being done around the state, through the Asset Management Units. There's only something like 190 major reschool - major school rebuilds or refurbs. So I think that - it is horses for courses, just because we're not breaking up the majors doesn't mean that there isn't ample opportunity for organisations to do the smaller ones. I don't want that to come across as a negative because it's not, it is, I think, horses for courses. There are - if there was, if there was an Aboriginal enterprise that was capable of bidding on a $20 million dollar tender, absolutely, we'd be happily - happy to invite them if they're on that prequalification level, for the Prequalification Scheme for that level, no problem in the slightest, but in terms of breaking those projects up, I don't think in reality that's gonna happen. But as I said, there's stacks and stacks and stacks of work in that other space. More than enough.

Andrea: Thanks, Paul. We have some suppliers online who are located in bushfire regions and severely affected by COVID. And they - no contact person in education - hopefully, we're going to provide you with Christine's details. Reach out to Christine, she'll be able to signpost you. We also have a question around, doesn't - does a regional SME that is not Aboriginal-owned have the same opportunity as Aboriginal-owned, and if no, how can we give ourselves that opportunity? I think what we - what we find is many Aboriginal-owned businesses are actually SMEs. We are talking, about similar, if not the same things. The policies have called out two areas specifically, both SMEs and Aboriginal-owned businesses, and rightly so, there's a lot of history around why this - some disadvantaged groups, in terms of our procurement, and that's why we've established policies. So, it's not in competition and we're not trying to suggest one is over the other. It's about positive action that the department's taking to engage, whether you're an SME or an Aboriginal-owned business. So, and what I suggest is, if you are in SME, reach out to Christine, give a little bit more detail and context about where you're based, what your services are, and Christine will signpost you, and as I say, we did cover the policies, the SMEs up to $250,000, we can engage, and I did talk about how many employees - so if you have small business, these sorts of 50 employees, you're a small business and it's $50,000 with no - for a single quote. If you're a medium-sized enterprise, that's up to the 199 employees, then it's the $250,000. So very similar policies, trying to open up business for both SMEs and Aboriginal-owned businesses. We've talked a lot about how to get onto to schemes. We're gonna send those links out, make you aware of those - again, any questions, contact the the scheme owner for guidance and, in the absence of that, or if you need some additional support, reach out to Christine in the Department of Education. And someone's asked about how many single-source $250,000 jobs have been awarded in the last 12 months? Many. The problem we have is, as central procurement functions, a lot of our procurement at the low value is devolved to schools. So we - and with 2,200 schools, we don't have the mechanisms to kind of gather all that data and articulate it. What we do have responsibility for is we do report to New South Wales Treasury and New South Wales Government around our engagements, aligned to the policies. So all the information, not just for education, but for all agencies, is available on the New South Wales Buy site, if you want to have a look at that. But offline, we will have a look to see if there's a bit more data we can pull together to give an indication about what awards we have made, in the last 12 months, in that space. The partnership with Supply Nation has been signed now in the new financial year, as soon as we can. We hope to have that up and running, so from July, August onwards. Okay, there's another question, and this will be the last one. I know there's - we do have a list so, as I said earlier, we're running out of time. We will do a full Q&A response, post this event, and email it to everybody who's joined the call today. But I'll just end on the many small indigenous businesses are not sufficiently large enough to be certified under Supply Nation. Will registered businesses be approached or given the opportunity to quote for work too? Now, as Paul said earlier, we're not always aware of what Aboriginal businesses are out there. So it is important that you do reach out to Christine, and again, if it's in the infrastructure space, Christine will be able work with you, inform you how you can be made aware, of up and coming and appropriate packages of work. Failing that, if you're not in the infrastructure space, she'll signpost you to someone who can inform you too, but we also do use the Indigenous Chamber of Commerce, and we are looking and working with them to see if we can get their data, but Supply Nation is the first step forward in that space. Okay, I’m just gonna start wrapping up. I'd like to thank Paul for joining me today and giving us some insights into the Schools Infrastructure pipeline, a lot of information around the Prequal Schemes. I hope we didn't confuse you too much with all the different numbers we threw at you, and as I stated, we will email these out with a little bit more information, so hopefully it'll make a lot more sense. If it doesn't make sense, reach out to Christine, we'll provide Christine's details. I think Christine is gonna be a very busy person over the coming weeks, but she's really looking forward to that engagement, and I think from supplier's perspective, it is a lot nicer to talk to a person or reach out to a person rather than be given a generic email or a generic phone number. So we are trying to be a little bit more engaging and certainly some of the challenges you will have heard about how difficult it is to engage with the Department of Education, hopefully we're evidencing - we're trying to take steps to address that issue. Paul talked about the Local Traders Scheme, hipages, a real great opportunity, certainly for the rural regional areas. Those are relatively low value, quick engagements, faster payments. So please, when we send the link, if it's relevant to your business, register, take advantage of that. We talked a little bit about the opportunities in response to COVID-19. So not just at the Department of Education level, you'll get information and a link to the whole-of-government website where you'll see what's going on, not just in our agency, but in all agencies across the patch, because a lot of the services that we're talking about today aren't unique to education, they’re just as unique to transport, health and other agencies. So the New South Wales Buy whole-of-government site will give you that broader view. So I’d just like to thank every one, hopefully you have found this an informative session. It's certainly been an experience for myself and Paul talking to a screen and hopefully, we'll follow up on - not hopefully, we will follow up with - on our promises of more information and we will continue to answer the questions offline and provide the full response to all questions raised. Okay so, I think we're literally bang on 12, what great time management that was. Have a great day, stay safe in these COVID-19 times, and keep an eye on your email inbox, the email you've registered with, as that's where all the information and response will be sent to. Okay, thank you.

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