Auditor slates Adelaide Oval procurement

3 September 2013

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4 September 2013 | Will Green

South Australia’s auditor general has criticised procurement processes behind the construction of the new Adelaide Oval sports stadium.

Simon O’Neill, who has completed a report on the redevelopment, said there were “notable shortcomings” in the way principle construction contractor Baulderstone was appointed by the South Australia government’s Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure (DPTI).

The report said “the procurement plan for the principal construction contract was not completed before key procurement tasks were commenced” while “a probity auditor was appointed after the commencement of the procurement process and, as a consequence, key aspects of the procurement process were not reviewed by the probity auditor”.

The report goes on to say documentation in the tender process did not comply with DPTI requirements while “the evaluation panel did not evaluate the offer as provided for in the tender documents as the project manager entered into direct negotiations with the preferred tenderer to agree a final design and price”.

O’Neill said: “Having considered these matters, I am of the view that sufficient regard was not given to the effective implementation and application of appropriate probity standards throughout the entire procurement process.”

Baulderstone was awarded the contract in October 2011. There is no insinuation of any improper behaviour by the company.

Building work began in early 2012 on the 50,000-seater stadium, which hosts cricket and Australian rules football, and it has a completion date of March 2014.

The auditor general’s report was produced as a requirement of the Adelaide Oval Redevelopment and Management Act 2011, which limits the state government’s commitment to the project to AUS$535 million (£314 million), and it will be presented to parliament.

The DPTI said it carried out a “robust procurement process” and the contract was awarded to the lowest tenderer.

A spokesman said: “The process had due regard to the objectives and risks inherent in the project and accepted principles of accountability and transparency, but with the clear objective of establishing a viable design and a construction contract that could deliver on the government’s objectives within the constraints and the funding cap imposed by the legislation.”

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