Budget 2021: Government procurement for SMEs in focus

federal-budget

Prime Minister Scott Morrison is seen during a press conference at Beef Australia Expo 2021 in Rockhampton, Queensland, Tuesday, May 4, 2021. Source: AAP Image/Steve Vit.

New funding included in this year’s federal budget will go some way towards improving the success rate of SMEs winning government contracts.

The federal government tenders millions of dollars in work each year but to a large extent, these contracts are awarded to the largest consulting firms in the big end of town.

In her final week as small business ombudsman in March, Kate Carnell nominated government procurement as a key priority for the Ombudsman’s office this year and tonight’s budget addresses this vital area for SMEs.

The budget papers reveal the government will spend $2.6 million over a four-year period to “support and strengthen” SME participation in Commonwealth procurement.

This will be done in five ways, including by increasing the communication of procurement opportunities to potential SME suppliers.

The government says it will also “scan” procurements to identify common “pain points” for SMEs and will host targeted events to help SMEs better understand how to access supply chains, work with government buyers, and work in major project environments.

The government will make the use of Dynamic Sourcing for Panels mandatory, to improve the use of panel arrangements.

Finally, the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources will trial a direct engagement approach with SMEs for contracts worth up to $200,000.

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