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Federal government surplus assets: where do they all go?
Sunday, 20 August 2017 | Xiaolin Chen
Essentially a big business in its own right, the Federal Government acquires thousands of assets every year to support the operations of its various departments. From office furniture and IT equipment to forklifts and cars; there’s a constant stream of moving parts required to enable the APS to do their work.
But where do all these assets go when they’re not needed, or ready to be replaced?
Government surplus auctions facilitated by third party providers have grown increasingly popular over the past decade, driven by the government’s own need to ensure complete transparency and equal opportunity for buyers to purchase. With most items in great working condition, and some with a little sentimental value for those who have worked in the department, online auctioning creates a fair and private process for those wanting to buy.
Local auction website Allbids has been running government surplus auctions for over 15 years, selling everything from high court chairs to general office furniture, laptops, tablets, and more.
“We’re very proud to be a Canberra business who has worked with every Federal Government department to help them sell unwanted assets,” says Rob Evans, CEO of Allbids. “From Prime Minister and Cabinet to the National Museum, War Memorial, High Court of Australia – because we’re on the ground here they appreciate being able to use a local digital platform.”Rob says that Canberrans are truly lucky to be so close to the action when it comes to buying surplus assets from government departments.
“It’s a great opportunity to find quality items with minimal wear and tear. Some also have sentimental value, such as the high court leather chairs which sold for between $200 and $600 each.”
Of choosing online auctioning as a platform, Rob says that it allows the government to check off their three key requirements: inexpensive, efficient and transparent.
“Government departments need to work efficiently in removing unwanted assets and replacing them with minimal disruption to staff. They can’t sell the assets themselves as it’s not very transparent and they don’t have the platform to reach buyers. So that’s what we bring to the table. We’re essentially a one-stop-shop: we collect the goods, upload and market them to our database of 150,000 bidders, and give everyone equal opportunity to acquire them. Every department is different, so we tailor the service and reporting to suit their needs, but the outcome is the same.”
In his address to the APS last year, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull noted that the way forward for departments was with key focus on using technology as a platform to work more efficiently.
In a direct quote from his speech, Mr Turnbull said, “Of course, innovation and technology go hand-in-hand. An unwillingness to embrace technology is, to put it bluntly, simply not acceptable.
“We are already of course seeing instances of government transforming the way we do business. It’s a ‘learn fast, keep moving’ approach, modelled on good private sector practice.”Having won an innovation excellence award as an ACT Smart Business, Rob says Allbids is looking to streamline government surplus auctions by listing goods immediately after they’ve been tagged as surplus, and encouraging pickup directly from the government department to save time and money on logistics.
“At the end of the day, it’s about getting more money into the public coffers, so they can recoup costs and use the money to benefit the public. And given the care in which the APS treat the assets, it’s a great opportunity for Canberrans to get a bargain.”
This article was first published on The Riot ACT Website by Rachel Ziv https://the-riotact.com/federal-government-surplus-assets-where-do-they-all-go/213336