Ombudsman Launches Inquiry into Commonwealth Procurement

Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman

The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Bruce Billson has launched an Inquiry to examine the impact of reforms to Commonwealth procurement rules on small business.

The Inquiry was referred to the Ombudsman by the Minister for Finance, Katy Gallagher.

In 2021-22, the Australian Government awarded $80.8 billion in procurement contracts, of which 30.8% or just under $25 billion by value, was awarded to small and medium sized enterprises.

“It’s great to see the Australian Government’s commitment to be a bigger customer for small businesses,” Mr Billson said.

“But for many small and family businesses, identifying and securing Commonwealth procurement contracts can be complex, costly, confusing and time-consuming.

“Supporting the opportunity for small and family businesses to compete for and fully participate in supplying the goods and services the Australian Government needs helps to ensure full value for money, vitality in the economy, support for local businesses to scale and can enable innovation.

“Where there are procurement impediments, it can diminish opportunities to encourage entrepreneurship and competition and means the taxpayer and the nation may not be getting the most value for money.

“It is timely to examine how the system is working for small and family businesses, the role procurement rules are playing to support small business participation and what lessons and improvements can be made.

“We want to identify those departments and agencies who are exemplars in providing procurement opportunities to small businesses and celebrate this success and help others to emulate it.

“Similarly, we seek to shine a light on those whose dealings with small business are poor.”

The Ombudsman will review the implementation of the 1 July 2022 changes to Commonwealth procurement, and the impact these changes have had on small businesses that participate in Commonwealth procurement activities.

The Ombudsman intends to release an issues paper and invites written submissions from small businesses and other interested parties which should be sent to

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