The NSW government is changing its procurement process to ensure regional Australia is a priority.
Under the Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) and Regional Procurement Policy, government agencies must first consider buying goods and services from a regional or SME for all direct procurements up to $250,000.
“The NSW Government recognises procurement presents the opportunity for small and medium businesses to work on state-of-the-art projects, while supporting local jobs and building skills,” the policy states..
“Where a government agency is permitted to directly purchase goods and/or services from a supplier, or directly negotiate with a supplier to provide goods and/or services, the agency must first consider purchasing from a regional supplier for procurement in a regional area.
“If the procurement is not in a regional area, then the agency must first consider purchasing from an SME.”
Agencies are also encouraged to purchase fresh produce from local businesses and primary producers.
Consider locals first
John Barilaro, deputy premier and Minister for Regional NSW, wants NSW government departments to change the mindset of looking to Sydney first for procurement opportunities.
“Where possible, give first consideration to the excellent local tradies, businesses and shops in a local regional community when it comes to procuring goods and services,” he said in a statement.
The policy also includes a ‘Small Business Exemption’, which allows government departments to buy directly from small businesses for purchases up to $50,000, even if those goods or services are available on a whole-of-government arrangement.
The government will be working to make it easier for SMEs to access government opportunities, including standardising government contracts for low-risk engagements across all agencies to ensure consistency.
“Where possible, give first consideration to the excellent local tradies, businesses and shops in a local regional community when it comes to procuring goods and services.” – John Barilaro
Vital to continue supporting regional businesses
Member for Dubbo Dugald Saunders said it was vital to continue supporting regional businesses.
“We have been spreading the ‘buy local’ message to our residents and, as a government, we need to do the same,” he said in a statement.
“The quality of services provided by companies based in the bush is just as good as anything you will get in the city.”
Dubbo business Crampton’s Carpets could be one of the businesses to benefit from the policy.
“Government contract work is a big part of our businesses and an important part of our business,” owner Gerard Crampton said.
“We have a good, working relationship with the government and for years, we’ve been doing a variety of work.”
The government is expecting to see more SMEs on prequalification schemes by 2021, with more contracts awarded to SMEs and increased spend with SMEs overall and as a proportion of total government procurement expenditure.
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