The following Question on Notice was asked by the Member for Warren-Blackwood Terry Redman and answered today in the Legislative Assembly by Emergency Services Minister Hon Fran Logan MLA.
EMERGENCY SERVICES — BUSHFIRE CENTRE OF EXCELLENCE — LOCATION
Mr T. Redman to the Minister for Emergency Services; Corrective Services:
I refer to the Minister’s decision to locate the Bushfire Centre of Excellence in the Shire of Murray, and ask:
(a) Will the Minister table the criteria used for the selection of a suitable location for the facility:
(i) If not, why not;
(b) Was one of the criteria related to access to a number of vegetation fuel types to support the centre’s activities:
(i) If so, what fuel types are accessible from the selected location of the Shire of Murray;
(c) Was travel distance from the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) headquarters in Cockburn a factor in selecting the Shire of Murray location:
(i) If so, what was the critical distances considered in the selection of the location; and
(ii) If so, why were shires located some distance from DFES Headquarters not told they were wasting their time in making an application;
(d) Can the Minister outline the reasons why the Shire of Manjimup’s application was not accepted, in particular:
(i) Did the Shire miss the deadline;
(ii) If yes to (i), did the Shire contact DFES to report the online submission system was not working; and
(iii) If yes to (ii), were the Shire told that the contact person would be unavailable until after the tender process had closed;
(e) Can the Minister confirm the likely staff movements between DFES headquarters and the new Bushfire Centre of Excellence in support of the centre’s activities; and
(f) Does internal DFES budgeting for staff travel include an allocation for travel to and from the new Bushfire Centre of Excellence:
(i) If yes, what is the size of this budget over the forward estimate period; and
(ii) If yes, does this budget include accommodation:
(A) If yes, what is the accommodation component?
Mr F. Logan replied:
(a) This information was publicly available in the Request for Proposal – Selection of the Location for the Bushfire Centre of Excellence 1795/18, which documented the selection process, statement of requirements, specifications, pre-qualification requirements, compliance and disclosure requirements, and qualitative requirements.
The pre-qualification requirements were for the location of the proposed land/facility to be:
(i) Within the South West Land Division as defined by the Land Act 1933; and
(ii) 60km or less by road to a regional centre (Albany, Bunbury, Busselton, Geraldton, Mandurah (within the South West Land Division); or
(iii) Located in a sub-regional centre as defined by the State Planning Strategy 2050 (within the South West Land Division) (Northam, Collie, Katanning, Morawa, Jurien Bay, Boddington, Manjimup, Margaret River); or
(iv) Within the Perth Metropolitan Area but having an existing or ongoing rural–urban interface (defined as the line or area where structures and other human development adjoin or overlap with undeveloped bushland (Australasian Fire and Emergency Service Authorities Council 2012, AFAC Bushfire Glossary, AFAC Limited, East Melbourne).
The qualitative requirements were:
(a) Suitability of Proposed Location of Land/Facility (35% weighting) including details of land size, quality and existing services.
(b) Demonstrated Understanding (20% weighting) including details of proposed methodology and approach for delivering the project delivery phase.
(c) Demonstrated Experience and Organisational Capacity (30% weighting) including details of similar projects and the capacity to deliver.
(d) Community and Economic Development (10% weighting) including details on how the local government would use the facility to promote economic development.
(e) Relationship Management (5% weighting) including details on approach to manage partnership with DFES and the community including ability to align its bushfire risk management activities to applicable DFES policies, standards and best-practice guidelines, such as the Bushfire Risk Management Planning Program.
(i) Not applicable.
(b) Section 2.1 of the Request for Proposal includes a specification that the land/facility should be located such that it: Is located within 60 minutes driving time (by road) of suitable sites for onsite prescribed burning training.
(i) There are a variety of sites accessible for prescribed burning activities within 60 minutes driving distance of the Peel Business Park location within the Shire of Murray. These include areas of the Darling Range and Swan Coastal Plain, including strategic reserves within town sites, larger sites within State Forest, agricultural farmland, and complex and sensitive sites along waterways. The Shire of Murray has a long history of bushfire management, including the Royal Commission into the 1961 Dwellingup bush fires, and experiences many of the complex bushfire risk management challenges shared by Rural – Urban Interface areas across Australia.
(c) No, distance from the DFES headquarters in Cockburn was not a factor in selecting the Shire of Murray location. Section 2 of the Request for Proposal highlighted the importance of accessibility for all stakeholders, being those utilising the products and services of the Bushfire Centre of Excellence, including bushfire volunteers, local governments, state agencies, industry, and members of the community.
(i) Not applicable.
(ii) Not applicable.
(d) The Request for Proposal was advertised on Tenders WA on Friday 21 September 2018 with a closing date of 11.00am Wednesday 24 October 2018 (Western Australia). The Request for Proposal provided detailed and specific information regarding the conditions for submitting an offer, including closing date and time, method, and location. The Request for Proposal also specified that any offer not submitted before the closing time, incomplete at the closing time, or not submitted in accordance with the offer conditions, would be excluded from consideration unless the Respondent can provide conclusive evidence of mishandling of the offer. This is a legally binding condition of the offer process to ensure a consistent, fair and equitable opportunity for all respondents. The offer presented by the Shire of Manjimup was received by email at 1.37pm on Wednesday 24 October 2018 (Western Australia).
(i) Yes, as per response to (d).
(ii) Shire of Manjimup representatives contacted DFES representatives approximately 15 minutes prior to the closure of the Request for Proposal (11.00am on Wednesday 24 October 2018), requesting an extension for their submission, stating they were experiencing technical difficulties. Subsequent, documented, conversations between representatives of the Shire of Manjimup and DFES indicate that these technical difficulties were not related to the Tenders WA platform, and that the Shire had made an error in recording the closing time of the Request for Proposal, thinking it to be 4.00pm, and had also misplaced its password for Tenders WA, which prevented the Shire from attempting to rapidly upload their documentation when the error was discovered very shortly before the official closure time. The Shire was given the opportunity to provide evidence of any technical issue with Tenders WA. None was provided.
(iii) Not applicable.
(e) Noting that planning is ongoing, the Bushfire Centre of Excellence is anticipated to have approximately 20 FTE. Recruitment for these permanent FTE is anticipated to commence for 1 July 2019. These FTE will be primarily based at the hub facility in the Shire of Murray, with this condition specified in their terms of employment. In addition, DFES staff will occasionally travel to attend training and professional development courses at the hub facility. The Bushfire Centre of Excellence will use a networked ‘hub and spoke’ model of product and service delivery. In addition to courses run at the hub facility, courses will also continue to be delivered in each region, utilising regional DFES, DBCA, local government, and brigade, group or unit facilities. Detailed costing models for Bushfire Centre of Excellence operations are being developed as part of the finalisation of the Business Case.
(f) (i)–(ii) As per response to (e).
(A) As per response to (e).