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Councils call independent review of controversial tender

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The group of suburban Adelaide councils under question over their tender for a multi-million dollar streetlight replacement program has decided to place the process on hold and commission an independent review, InDaily can reveal.

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Streetlight tender under fire

Mayors and CEOs from seven eastern Adelaide councils resolved at a meeting last night to place the tender process for their Bulk LED Replacement Program on hold so an independent auditor could review it.

Chair of the Eastern Region Alliance of councils, Burnside Mayor David Parkin, told InDaily this morning that “we’ll get an independent professional organisation to check our processes”.

“We have full confidence in our processes, but we’ll get [them] peer reviewed,” Parkin said.

The streetlight replacement project has been estimated to be worth $50 million to the successful bidder.

On Monday, InDaily revealed international lighting company Citelum had withdrawn from the process to tender for the Bulk LED Replacement Program, principally because of concerns over the role of engineer Scott Williams in the tender process.

Williams is a director of lighting company ENE.HUB.

ENE.HUB the largest shareholder of ENE.HUB SA, which made a bid for the tender.

A spokesperson for thje Eastern Region Alliance confirmed Williams had helped develop technical specifications for the tender, and had been project director for the Bulk LED Replacement Program.

According an email from the City of Unley’s General Manager of Assets and Environment, John Devine, sent to stakeholders regarding the tender last week, an ENE.HUB partner company, Complete Urban, had completed streetlight infrastructure audits for the Campbelltown and Unley councils, and was thereafter “asked to assist ERA to put together a technical project brief, suitable to put to the market”.

ENE.HUB CEO Kevin Brown – who is also a director of ENE.HUB SA – said Williams’ role in the tender process had not constituted a conflict of interest, and “all potential conflicts were declared and managed appropriately”.

A spokesperson for the ERA said in a statement, prior to the publication of InDaily‘s first report of concerns about the tender process, that the group of councils “refute any suggestion or implication that there has been a lack of probity”.

The ERA had appointed a probity adviser “who constantly reviews all aspects of the procurement process and has indicated that this project is being conducted in an open and transparent manner in regards to probity and the approved process”.

Campbelltown Mayor Simon Brewer told InDaily on Tuesday afternoon that he would ask his fellow ERA members to consider scrapping the tender process and restarting it, because “the potential project is too important for there to be any question about its integrity”.

This morning Brewer said was “very happy with the decision made at the ERA meeting [to commission an independent review] and fully support it”.

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