NSW ensures SMEs get a piece of the procurement pie

Monday, 21 February, 2022

NSW ensures SMEs get a piece of the procurement pie

The NSW Government is focusing on small and medium businesses to ensure they are in the running for public sector spending. New figures show that the government invested around $34 billion on goods, services and construction through 2020/21, with almost $8 billion spent with SMEs during that time.

Minister for Finance and Employee Relations Damien Tudehope said the data showed more than 49,000 SMEs were engaged in government procurement contracts, a number which is more visible thanks to enhancements in the way suppliers are classified.

“Small businesses have experienced one of their most challenging periods ever — whether it was enduring droughts, floods, bushfires, COVID and a mouse plague, they have shown their resilience and strength. This is why we need to get it right when it comes to supporting them,” Tudehope said.

“By generally excluding subsidiaries of multinationals, joint ventures and special-purpose vehicles, this data provides a clearer picture on how many SMEs are engaging with government, and through this process of refinement, we are ensuring we can better understand the true impact of how our policies are benefiting SMEs.”

The NSW Government said it is committed to increasing opportunities with SME businesses to access government work, with measures in place including:

  1. The SME and Regional Procurement Policy, which allows agencies to buy goods and services directly from an SME or regional supplier for all procurements up to $150,000.
  2. Business Connect, which offers independent business advice to help small businesses build their capability to supply to the government.
  3. Tender Support Program, which is providing online courses through TAFE and a written guide to help small businesses learn how to tender for NSW Government contracts.
  4. Aboriginal Procurement Policy, which aims to deliver increased opportunities for Aboriginal businesses, which also benefit from the SME & Regional Procurement Policy, to secure NSW Government work.
  5. A small business exemption for government agencies to purchase construction services valued up to $50,000 directly from a small business, even where there is a whole-of-government arrangement in place.

“It’s important they have access to government work opportunities, and we need to try harder when it comes to making sure they’re at the top of the list when we’re considering which suppliers to engage,” Tudehope said.

Minister for Small Business Eleni Petinos said the data is a powerful reminder of the pivotal role played by SMEs in NSW’s economy.

“Small businesses are the engine room of our economy and the lifeblood of so many communities, which is why we are committed to awarding more contracts to them,” Petinos said.

“We want to make it easier for SMEs to work with the government and have taken steps to save them time, including creating the NSW Supplier Hub to ensure suppliers can be easily found, requiring faster payments for goods and services and implementing e-invoicing.

“Our message to SMEs is clear — we want to ensure you receive a fairer share of procurement spend, so you can continue to deliver critical services and support local jobs.”

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/Tijana

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