The TWU claimed the case was the first successful challenge to major corporate outsourcing in 20 years © James D. Morgan/Getty Images
The TWU claimed the case was the first successful challenge to major corporate outsourcing in 20 years © James D. Morgan/Getty Images

Top 10 Australia and NZ stories in 2021

13 December 2021

SM looks back at the most popular stories from Australia and New Zealand in 2021. 

1. How outsourcing was 'put on trial and lost'

The Transport Workers Union (TWU) union claimed partial victory in a court case against Qantas after the company outsourced 2,000 jobs.

The Australian Federal Court found Qantas’ decision to dismiss workers and hire subcontractors was motivated partially to prevent workers from demanding better wages and taking industrial action.

The decision to outsource workers left baggage handlers, ramp workers and cabin cleaners across 10 airports out of work, a total of 2,000 staff.


2. Woolworths' purchase of PFD raises competition concerns

Supermarket chain Woolworths’ proposed $552m acquisition of food distributor PFD Food Services gave rise to fears the new company would have too much bargaining power with suppliers and reduce consumer choice.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) was concerned the merger would restrict choice of potential customers among food manufacturers and lessen competition within the supermarket sector.

However, the deal was later given the green light.


3. Schneider and Rio Tinto partner to drive decarbonisation

Electronics firm Schneider Electric and miner Rio Tinto formed a partnership to “develop a circular and sustainable market ecosystem”.

The collaboration saw Schneider using responsibly-sourced materials produced by Rio Tinto, with the miner using energy and industrial services from Scheider.


4. Shipping firm fined $24m for car transport cartel

Australia’s Federal Court fined Wallenius Wilhelmsen Ocean (WWO) $24m for its part in a criminal cartel of shipping companies.

The court heard WWO joined two other multinational shipping companies in dividing up the major vehicle manufacturing customers between themselves on certain shipping routes to Australia from Asia, Europe and the US, leading to higher prices for consumers.


5. How much have procurement salaries risen by in Australasia?

The average procurement salary in Australia and New Zealand rose 5.5%, according to the CIPS/Hays Procurement Salary Guide.

Procurement and supply chain professionals were found to have an average salary of AU$140,636 in Australia and NZ$130,427 in NZ.


6. Procurement among roles most at risk of automation

Procurement roles in Australia were found to be among those most at risk of being replaced by automation, according to research.

report by research firm Forrester said a million jobs in procurement, accounting and finance were likely to be “eliminated” by 2030.


7. Too many tenders 'rely on exploiting loopholes'

Up to 60% of Australia’s government procurement took place via limited tender, which could have meant just a single supplier was being invited to bid for a contract, an inquiry was told.

Brian Boyd, executive director of Australian National Audi Office performance audit services, cast doubt on the effectiveness of the country’s open procurement policy as he gave evidence to a House of Representatives committee.


8. Future-proof tender documents are easier to read

New Zealand Government Procurement announced a new suite of tender document templates that were more practical and easy to use.

The updated RFx templates included broader outcome priorities, compliance with employment and health and safety standards, and additional guidance for suppliers on completing forms.


9. NSW announces SME spend targets

The New South Wales (NSW) state government planned to ensure SMEs receive a greater proportion of ICT procurement spend.

Under the plan, from 1 April 2021 30% of ICT procurement spend would have to go directly to SMEs. And 25% of indirect ICT procurement spend in all contracts worth more than $3m would have to go to small businesses. 


10. Aldi Australia to train buyers to spot slavery

Aldi Australia announced it would be training buyers to look out for signs of labour abuse as part of work to tackle slavery risk in its fresh produce supply chain.

The retailer, the first Australian member of the Slave-Free Alliance, said it would also develop a framework for robust regular internal reporting on human rights activities.

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