At a recent meeting of the Mid North Coast Joint Organisation (MNCJO) of councils, another milestone was reached with the joint meeting of general managers and councils' technical engineering staff to form a collaborative working group designed at exploring opportunities for regional procurement of its major up and coming projects.
With a combined annual operating budget of $330 million and capital works program valued at $138 million, member councils of Bellingen, Kempsey and Port Macquarie are optimistic they will be in a position to let combined tenders for some of these works, which are generally externally provided specialist services.
Kempsey Shire Council's director of operations and planning, Robert Fish, explained how the collaborative working group will operate.
"The three council's will continue to work together to review future infrastructure programs and identify projects that are similar and may benefit from a joint delivery model. In practical terms these benefits would be things like financial savings, shared resources and expertise and perhaps an ability to attract specialist contractors," Mr Fish said.
Not only will this venture save the combined 133,000 residents procurement costs, but it is hoped that by bulking up potential works packages it may attract larger contractors which could deliver both technology and better value for money. In addition the member councils will save on contract administration as only one resource will be required to administer multiple projects.
"We have made considerable progress on mapping and costing a shared program of timber bridge replacement across the Joint Organisation and this has the potential to be a pilot program for a shared funding and operating model in the longer term," Mr Fish said.
MNCJO chair, mayor Liz Campbell said all three council's will be able to use this to work on projects that are similar in the future.
"All three member councils have significant water and wastewater projects in the coming years," Cr Campbell said.
"In addition there remains a focus on timber bridge renewal with advocacy for the MNCJO Timber Bridge Renewal Prospectus to be co-funded by Government and the member councils, and used as a pilot to demonstrate improved resource collaboration and delivery efficiency through the Joint Organisation as the lead body."
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