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Jay's Reading Challenge medals not made in SA

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Proud school-aged participants in Jay Weatherill’s Premier’s Reading Challenge will be adorned with commemorative medals made in New South Wales, despite the State Government publicly committing to a local procurement policy.

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The Opposition says local companies have been “snubbed”, after a tender for the supply of medals for the popular reading exercise was awarded to Get Smart Promotional Products, based in Salamander Bay, NSW.

The Government will spend $710,842 on the contract, which will run until 2021.

A spokesman for the Premier said “while the Government procures locally wherever possible, in this instance the selected tenderer’s offer was significantly lower than any other bid, with the successful tenderer demonstrating they could provide the greatest value-for-money outcome for taxpayers”.

He said the offer would save taxpayers around $350,000 compared to the next best tender.

But Liberal MP Vincent Tarzia, a member of parliament’s Economic and Finance Committee, said: “Why should jobs go interstate when SA has more than enough local medal producers that would benefit from this contract?

“SA is facing the highest unemployment rate in the nation of 7 per cent and Labor continues to snub local business by sending contracts interstate… the Weatherill Government needs to start taking South Australian businesses seriously, and support local jobs.”

Weatherill’s office insists the Government has “made it easier for local companies to tender for contracts, and we purchase locally made products wherever possible”.

“The Government’s procurement policies ensure as many jobs as possible go to local workers and contractors – more than 90 per cent of the $4 billion in SA public-sector procurement is sourced from local suppliers,” it said in a statement.

The contract was awarded by the Department for Education and Child Development.

The revelation comes days after the Opposition also revealed several local businesses had been left with outstanding debts from the collapse of interstate firm Elite Systems, which the Government had contracted to erect the grandstands for the Clipsal 500.

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