The Minister for Finance and Deregulation, the Hon Lindsay Tanner MP, recently released the “Australian Government Procurement Statement” which proposes a number of reforms to improve the government procurement process. The aims of the reforms are to:

“improve and foster greater transparency in government purchasing, improve value for money for taxpayers, and achieve better outcomes for small business, jobs and the wider community”.

One of the main components of the Australian Government Procurement Statement is the appointment of a “Procurement Coordinator” within the Department of Finance and Deregulation, who will oversee Commonwealth procurement practices and policies and who will be supported by a Procurement Advice and Complaints Handling Unit.

Another feature is the introduction of a number of “enhanced accountability measures”, which include:

  • a reduction in the use of commercial-in-confidence provisions,
  • requiring agencies not to contract with suppliers who have a judicial decision against them for unpaid employee entitlements, and
  • revising the approach to risk allocation in contracts.

Also, as part of the reforms, the Government has stated that it will:

“only contract out when it is in the public interest, having regard to such considerations as the quality and accessibility of services and the implications for affected public sector employees”.

The full Australian Government Procurement Statement can be accessed at http://www.financeminister.gov.au/media/2009/docs/Australian_Government_Procurement_Statement.pdf.