The Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (the GIPA Act) requires that Council maintain a publicly available register of contracts to which it is a party, and which has, or is likely to have, a value of $150,000 or more.
The contracts that must be reported include:
- Projects eg; Construction, infrastructure, or property development
- Provision of goods or services
- Transfer of real property
- Lease of real property
Contracts of employment do not need to be reported.
Current Contracts Register
What are the classes of contracts?
The GIPA Act identifies three classes of contracts:
Class 1 contracts
Class 1 contracts are those that have, or are likely to have, a value of $150,000 or more.
Class 2 contracts
Class 2 contracts are Class 1 contracts that also fit into one of the following categories:
- There hasn’t been a public tender process and the terms and condition of the contract have been directly negotiated with the contractor.
- The contract was the subject of a tender (public or not), but the terms and conditions have been substantially negotiated with the contractor.
- The obligations of one or more parties to maintain or operate infrastructure or assets could continue for 10 years or more and the contract involves a privately financed project (defined by NSW Treasury) or the exchange of significant assets.
Class 3 contracts
If a Class 2 contract has a value, or likely to have a value of more than $5 million, it becomes a Class 3 contract. A copy of Class 3 contracts must be made available with the register.
Some confidential information does not need to be included in the register. This is set out in Section 32 of the GIPA Act.
When must information be included in the Register
Information about Council contracts must be included in the register within 45 days of the contract becoming effective. Information, including a copy of a contract, must be included in the government contracts register for either 20 working days, or until the obligations under the contract have been satisfied, whichever is the longer period.
What information is protected?
Council does not have to publish information that is confidential such as:
- commercial in confidence provisions of a contract
- details of any unsuccessful tender
- matters that could reasonably be expected to affect public safety or security
- information where there is an overriding public interest against disclosure
Commercial in confidence provisions of a contract refer to information which:
- reveals the contractors’ financing arrangements, financial modelling, cost structure or profit margins
- could place the contractor at a substantial commercial disadvantage in present or future dealings with Council
- would disclose any intellectual property in which the contractor has an interest