Royal Commission won’t look at Government aged care tenders – but open to the Commissioners to make recommendations on awarding of Federal contracts

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A follow-up to this story from Saturday.

As we covered, Aged Care Minister Senator Richard Colbeck had given the green light for the Royal Commission into Aged Care to examine the issue of Government aged care tenders as part of its remit following an investigation by independent news website Crikey into the ‘surge’ workforce tender awarded to online support worker platform Mable.

We asked the Royal Commission whether the Commissioners would investigate the issue, given the Commission’s public hearings wrapped up last week and it is only five months until the 26 February 2021 deadline for their Final Report.

In a statement, the Commission said:

“The Royal Commission has conducted its last hearing, except for its final hearing at which the Royal Commissioners will hear submissions from Counsel Assisting about possible recommendations. Accordingly, the Royal Commission will not be conducting any further hearings at which the issue of tenders will be considered. However, the Commissioners’ terms of reference are broad, and it is open to the Commissioners to make recommendations across those terms of reference.”

So, there will be no particular scrutiny of the tender process – but it is open to the Commissioners to recommend greater transparency of tender arrangements.

Given the recent focus on accountability and ‘trust’ in the funding and financing hearings, that seems like a real possibility.