Schools Stationery Contract Deal Reviewed



Following the SA government decision to restrict schools to purchase only from the two overseas owned Staples and Office Max, common sense has returned.

Public pressure from Schools and their staff, who rallied against the original decision has forced SA Finance Minister Michael O`Brien to lift supply restrictions on metropolitan public schools.



In response to the various concerns that were expressed, the independent Small Business Commissioner reviewed the decision and provided recommendations to the Government which have been broadly accepted. As a consequence a temporary exemption from the "Cross Government" contract has been awarded to metropolitan schools and pre-schools for a period of 12 months. After which it will be reviewed.  Country schools were already exempt.

The Minister has said that the extended exemptions are contingent on the affected schools ability to demonstrate that purchase decisions are made in accordance with best-value principles. Grant Eckert of newsagency group ANCOL welcomed the decision but said that the details are yet to be forthcoming and was keen to know how "best-value principles" would be applied.

The SA Opposition Education spokesman, David Pisoni agreed that many newsagents had been affected by the buying restrictions that were put in place last year, and that redundancies have already taken place.

Note: The Governments original decision came about as a result of an investigation into Public Servants, not schools, receiving gifts in exchange for toner cartridge purchases.

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