“There’s an incredible change in procurement spend, and it shows,” said Justine Moss, during a panel debate on social procurement policies in Australasia.
Speaking at the CIPS SM Australasia conference in Sydney last week, the head of government membership at Supply Nation said: “There are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses that can deliver services in construction, facilities management, cleaning and other professional services.”
The panel largely agreed that the Australian federal government’s policy to increase the portion of suppliers that are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders has been successful. The target started at 0.5% for the year 2015-16, rising to 3% by 2019-20.
“They’ve gone from $6.2 million to $1 billion in 2.5 years, and the flow on effect is that now state governments are also doing a 3% target in some states of Australia. This is also flowing into the corporate market that have KPI’s related to social procurement in their contracts,” she said.
Social procurement at the recent Commonwealth Games, however, was “probably not as much as it could have been”, admitted panellist Peter Morichovitis, chief procurement officer of the City of Gold Coast. There was room for improvement, he said.
Moss offered some tips on how procurement practitioners can work better with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in Australia:
1. Set targets that you want to achieve - the supply is meeting demand at the moment which is very exciting to see, she said.
2. Consider indigenous business in all your contracts. Use the Supply Nation’s online database to check who is available before going out to the open market, or include that in your tender process.
3. Look at second tier opportunities by asking tier one contractors how they can help you achieve targets.
4. To help out small operators, reduce payment terms or offer to pay up front.
5. Break down where you spend the most money and match it to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses that can meet your demand.