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The AusNet Debacle – The Real Damage

The AusNet Debacle – The Real Damage

No doubt many of you have heard about the recent AusNet tender debacle where the government ultimately awarded the contract to the ABC, in spite of two separate Tender Evaluation Panels recommending Sky as the winning tenderer. The media commentary focused on the political stoush between the government and the coalition but in doing so has missed the real story in this sorry tale.

All businesses interested in the government market would have been keenly watching the story unfold, many with dismay. Virtually all procurement guidelines across all levels of government in Australia trumpet this one truth – that the best value for money tender shall prevail. This one truth is meant to give businesses the confidence to invest time and money in developing their best possible bid but in one foul swoop the government’s AusNet decision has blown this concept out of the water.

In my years helping clients bid for government tenders the vast majority are willing to accept missing out if they are confident that the winning tender was better than theirs. All they want is a fair chance in a fair contest.    If they lose, most will dust themselves off and think – “how can we improve our tendering processes to win the next one?” What are they to think now?

Most likely, many will become more cynical about government procurement, and this is the real tragedy of the AusNet debacle. The media should focus on the tragedy of companies turning away in dismay from government tenders as a way of growing their businesses because they have lost faith in the best tender winning the business. And who could blame them.

This is where the real story lies because the damage done lasts much longer than a short term stoush between political parties. In making this decision the government has thrown out their own rule book, the very rule book they want companies to abide by.    Shame, government shame! You have let the business community and ultimately all Australians down – badly.

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