Port Pirie, Port Augusta and Whyalla councils will look at working together to boost the economy and save costs locally through contracts and spending.
The move comes after a presentation from South Australian Industry Advocate Ian Nightingale to the latest Spencer Gulf Cities meeting at Port Augusta.
Mr Nightingale said he was working with agencies, councils and any privately-owned project with state funding to encourage them to give businesses in the gulf a stronger chance to be considered for work.
Behind this change in thinking is the South Australian Industry Participation Policy.
This looks at economic benefit that can be generated through public procurement across the supply chain, from manufacturing, assembly, installation and supply of goods and services.
Mr Nightingale confirmed to the group that significant benefit in job creation and additional economic activity had been shown already through the policy.
“It doesn’t mean local businesses will automatically receive a contract. They still have to prove they can meet the requirements around workplace health and safety, quality and price,” he said.
“But the policy will mean that local businesses are front of mind for quotes or tenders whenever public money is to be spent on goods and services.”
Meeting chairman and Port Pirie Mayor John Rohde said the group would hire a procurement expert to advance some joint operations that could result in financial and resourcing efficiencies across the councils.
The initiative will consider how council spending can better stimulate local economic development across the gulf, including adopting the economic participation principles set out by the industry advocate.