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Green waste victory

Thursday, 3rd March, 2011

Council and AV to negotiate contract

By Gina Wilson

In a major victory for the small business operator, Australian Vermiculture will meet with City Council next week to negotiate a green waste contract.

A recommendation that City Council process the city's green waste was not voted on at last night's ordinary Council meeting.

Instead, Councillor Tom Kennedy put forward a motion that Council negotiate with the current operators, Australian Vermiculture (AV), with a view to entering into a contract.

AV, which has been running the green waste program for the past 10 years, was one of three tenderers.

AV's owners, Brendon and Del Price, were concerned their business would be ruined after a proposal that Council process the green waste itself was considered the cheapest and best.

But AV was thrown a lifeline after Council last night agreed to enter negotiations with AV with a view to entering into a contract for the green waste.

AV's Del Price said she was relieved and hoped the negotiations would secure their business's future.

"We're certainly very pleased that the Councillors saw to vote against the recommendation which was in favour of Council taking on the work," Mrs Price said.

"We know by far that we have a superior operation and look forward to the negotiation with Council with a view to secure the operation and keep a fantastic business here in Broken Hill."

Mr and Mrs Price had also questioned the transparency of the tender process and the independence of the four-person tender panel, three of whom work for City Council.

But Council's general manager, Frank Zaknich, rejected the criticisms, saying the council report had made the process clear and that the process had been open and transparent.

The city's mayor, Wincen Cuy, said the criticisms were unfair.

"The criticism leveled at the Council through the process is uncalled for and unwarranted," he said.

"What people are missing is actually the motion that was put forward at the (Special meeting of Council in December) where it requested Council to come back with costings on what it will cost Council to undertake the process."

Pricings were needed so staff and Councillors were aware of how much it would cost Council to carry out the green waste contract if it decided neither of the tenderers were satisfactory, he said.

"Council itself actually was not entering into the tender process," Mayor Cuy said.

"Council itself was actually sitting there and saying you've asked us to submit some costings so you can actually compare apples to apples.

"If there wasn't a Council resolution to ask for costings we could have sat around here tonight and said AV was too dear, Silverlea was too dear and West

State was too dear, we don't want that what are we going to do? Oh well Council will have to do it.

"I think people have missed that.

"We were the other alternative because if we did not accept any of the other tenders we were the alternative and Councillors wanted to know what the cost was for us to do it."

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