An inclusive employment expert has been appointed as this year’s Victorian Parliamentary Library Fellow.
Social policy researcher Maria Mupanemunda will investigate the economic, social, and environmental benefits of social procurement to “advance parliamentary knowledge” as part of an annual research position.
According to the Victorian Government Purchasing Board, social procurement is when an organisation (or government) uses their buying power to generate social value outside that of the goods, services, or construction that have been procured.
In 2018, Victoria was the first jurisdiction in Australia to implement a social procurement policy, with the aim of benefitting disadvantaged groups while still achieving value for money.
Mupanemunda will use the Parliamentary Library’s digital and historical collections, specialist databases, and intranet to look at how social procurement facilitates inclusive employment for jobseekers dealing with various forms of labour market disadvantage.
But the research can also be valuable to businesses, according to president of the Legislative Council Shaun Leane.
“When opportunities, jobs, and economic benefits flow to those who need it most, we all win. So, it’s important that our Parliament contributes to a better understanding of social procurement in our state,” he said.
Mupanemunda will publish four research papers over the course of her fellowship in the lead up to a social procurement briefing seminar for members of parliament next year. She is from the Research and Policy Centre at the Brotherhood of St Laurence, where she has been investigating inclusive employment and economic security.
Speaker of the Legislative Assembly Colin Brooks said the library fellowship has given the academic community an opportunity to contribute to the development of public policy through their research.
“At the same time, it gives MPs and staff access to the latest research and ideas on issues that matter to their constituents,” he said.