Australia bids to boost buying power

24 August 2009

25 August 2009

A raft of reforms have been unveiled by the Australian government in a bid to improve purchasing processes and support industry.

A key part of the plan is the appointment of a procurement coordinator to oversee all purchasing practices and policies at Australia's state departments and agencies.

The coordinator will promote contract opportunities and help the government use its AUS$24 billion (£12 billion) annual spend to get better terms from suppliers.

Announcing the measures at a public procurement conference in July, finance minister Lindsay Tanner (pictured) said: "For too long it hasn't been possible to get any clear sense of the purchasing practices across the more than 100 Commonwealth departments and agencies that engage in procurement. The coordinator will help give us a snapshot of what agencies are doing."

Departments and agencies will be required to use government frameworks - agreements with suppliers that set out terms and conditions under which specific purchases can be made - for goods and services, including IT and telecoms. Tanner also insisted the Australian government does not support protectionism. As reported in SM, New South Wales tabled a 'local jobs first' provision in its June budget, giving preference to domestic suppliers.

Alongside the buying reforms, innovation minister Kim Carr revealed plans to help small Australian vendors win deals. All potential suppliers will be required to submit 'industry participation plans' in tenders, to explain how they intend to familiarise themselves with Australian industry and contract with local vendors.

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