WA’s state procurement policy has exceeded targets for Aboriginal goods, services and work contracts, with more growth in its third year of operation.
A total of 6.5% of state government projects went to Aboriginal businesses in the 2020-21 financial year, more than doubling an annual target. Since the target was set by an Aboriginal procurement policy (APP) introduced in July 2018, the proportion of government contracts to be awarded to First Nations businesses has grown each year.
Leading the pack in helping to achieve these targets are the Department of Communities and Education and the Department of Main Roads and the Public Transport Authority.
“Procurement undertaken across agencies achieved an average contract value of around $520,000, excluding panel contracts and those valued at more than $25 million,” a state government statement said.
“More than 76% of contracts awarded to Aboriginal businesses in 2020-21 were valued at more than $100,000.”
Aboriginal affairs and finance minister Tony Buti said the policy acknowledged the need to build capacity and support for the development of the Aboriginal business sector.
“Growing this sector creates better financial outcomes for Aboriginal Western Australians and is part of broader initiatives towards self-determination and inclusion,” Buti said.
“I’m proud of the Aboriginal Procurement Policy’s outcomes, which have seen consistent year-on-year growth in WA government contracting with Aboriginal businesses.”
A total of 697 contracts have gone to 209 Aboriginal businesses under the policy so far, with a combined value of more than $476 million. Government data showed 97% of those companies delivering goods and services, including construction and maintenance, human resources services, cleaning services, and community and social services were based in the state.
The minister said the strong performance of the APP in its first term provided a solid foundation for its expansion into Aboriginal participation for employment and subcontracting targets, which came into effect at the start of this year.
“Prior to 2018, there was no policy in place to set targets to measure contracting outcomes for Aboriginal businesses in Western Australia,” Buti said.