Minister Wong calls on Aussie buyers to tackle policy goals

10 March 2011

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Public procurement in Australia is expected to achieve value for money while also supporting social and economic policies, its minister for finance and deregulation has said.

Writing in a CIPS Australasia (CIPSA) publication this week, Penny Wong said the government has, over the past year, taken a number of measures to ensure value for money is achieved through competitive, open, transparent, efficient and publicly-accountable processes, while also backing social and economic aims.

She said: “We’ve implemented whole-of-government contracts for air travel, delivering $40 million (£25 million) in savings to the budget annually and better prices to agencies. We have also introduced a standard suite of procurement documents for purchases less than $80,000 (£50,000) and looked to support the growth and capability of indigenous businesses, to name just a few initiatives.”

Wong said standardised purchasing documents would simplify the procurement process and ease the burden on smaller businesses selling to government. She said this was particularly important given that more than 70 per cent of contracts on AusTender are below $80,000 (£49,592). “Procurement processes, whether government or private sector, should be as straightforward, simple and cost-free as possible,” she added.

“Procurement is where the ‘rubber hits the road’ in relation to the Australian government’s financial framework, with about 81,000 contracts (above $10,000 (£6,198) in value), worth nearly $43 billion (£27 billion), awarded in 2009-10 to some 17,000 suppliers. This figure includes nearly $14 billion (£8.7 billion) awarded to small and medium enterprises.”  

Wong made the comments in the foreword to the CIPSA’s launch brochure for its 6th Public Sector Procurement Forum. She said learning from other purchasers is an essential means of staying aware of contemporary approaches and avoiding pitfalls.

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