The federal government will create a specialised unit to help small businesses gain better access to government contracts.
The government has allocated $2.8 million in the budget over four years to establish the unit within the Department of Finance, with approximately $600,000 to be spent each year between 2014 and 2018 in addition to around $500,000 in capital funding.
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The government said in its budget papers the aim of the policy is to “make it easier for small business to do business with government”, with the finance department to “work with small business and their representatives to develop procurement policy, guidance material, training and education programs”.
In a statement accompanying the budget papers, Small Business Minister Bruce Billson said this is something small business has been asking for.
“Small businesses have said contracting documents and accompanying obligations, including requirements to have very expensive insurance, can be overly complex and impose barriers to tendering for contracts,” said Billson.
The new unit sits alongside the government’s commitment to extending unfair contract protections for small business, which was also confirmed in tonight’s budget.
The policy, which Billson has championed for some time, will grant small business the same unfair contract protections currently available to consumers under Australian Consumer Law, costing the government $1.4 million.