News - Media Releases

Small cleaning businesses will struggle to survive under new schools cleaning contracts

The Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry is deeply concerned about the impact new school cleaning contracts will have on small cleaning businesses in Victoria.

In 2018, the Victorian Government will introduce a new system where eight zones will be created across metropolitan Melbourne and a single cleaning contract will be awarded for all schools in each zone. Businesses must submit Expressions of Interest by this Friday.

Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Chief Executive Mark Stone AM said the policy change had been issued with little notice for small businesses currently holding school cleaning contracts and failed to consider the full impact on their businesses.

“We have already had some small businesses call us saying that this change removes 100 per cent of their business and they are now likely to close,” he said.

“This new system has been sprung on business, giving them no opportunity to restructure or adapt to manage the changes.

“With less than a month to tender for one of the new contracts, most current suppliers won’t be able to meet to requirements to even bid for one of new contracts.”

Mr Stone said that all cleaning staff in our schools should receive their legal wages and entitlements but the new policy was not the answer.

“The Victorian Chamber is calling for better enforcement of existing workplace rules, not a kneejerk response that puts people out of businesses,” he said.

“This appears to be contradictory to Government procurement principals that allow small and medium business to compete in a competitive space with ‘big business’.

“Moreover, it goes against the Government’s own Local Jobs First procurement policy which that aims to ensure that ‘small and medium size enterprises (SMEs) are given a full and fair opportunity to compete for government contracts’.”

The Victorian Government has indicated regional Victoria would also move to a zoned model following the roll-out in Melbourne.

The Victorian Chamber is calling for better enforcement of workplace rules before implementing a system that will put some Victorian small businesses, and particularly regional businesses, at a disadvantage.

Media and Communications Contact

All media enquiries may be directed to the Media and Communications Manager.

For all other enquiries, please contact the Victorian Chamber on (03) 8662 5333.