New Democrat Leader Lorraine Michael wants to know if the government is looking into changing the calendar for public works tendering to save the government money. She didn’t get a clear answer Wednesday, but thanked the government anyway for its trouble.
The Telegram reported this week that the Heavy Civil Association of Newfoundland and Labrador is calling on the government to issue tenders earlier so that contractors can maximize their construction season and make things more predictable for their labour force.
Michael saw the story and thought it was a good enough idea to ask the government about the issue.
“Government has hired Deloitte and is paying them $4 million to find $15 million annually in savings across government,” Michael said. “In the media this weekend, for free, the Heavy Civil Association suggested another means of saving money: issue public works tenders early. Tenders issued ahead of the construction season will allow for better budgeting and planning for all in the industry. This has happened in the past in this Province and it happens in other jurisdictions.
“Mr. Speaker, I ask the Minister of Finance if this government is prepared to adopt this winning policy.”
Transportation and Works Minister Paul Davis said he’s already been talking to the people in the industry about it, but he didn’t say whether he’s considering changing the time of year when tenders are issued.
“I can tell you that I have met with the Heavy Civil Association. We have had some very good discussions and communication is very important to this government,” Davis said.
“We have made significant investments in this Province since we took over government and, I tell you, we make no apologies for the significant investments we made. We will continue to work with industry stakeholders to continue making those investments in the best interests of the people of the Province.”
Typically, the government doesn’t issue tenders for road work and public works contracts until after they’ve announced in the budget, which gets tabled in the House of Assembly in late March or early April.
Michael had heard enough from Davis’ answer.
“So they are not going to look at this policy that is being recommended. Thank you very much,” she said, before moving on to another issue.