Framework opens door

THE Australian Procurement and Con-struction Council has finalised its framework to help small and medium-sized businesses be more competitive in the government contracting market.

This procurement framework is a likely forerunner to an electronic commerce-based procurement system for both Federal and State governments.

The WA Government is already trialling such a system.

APCC chair and WA Works and Services Minister Mike Board said the new framework would enhance the viability of SMEs around Australia.

Jurisdictions around Australia are already implementing the principles with a view to developing solutions, to strengthen SMEs in the growing government contracting marketplace.

Key principles of the framework are:

l Consult widely with SMEs to determine the issues surrounding government contracting

• Communicate to SMEs the opportunity to do business with government

• Enhance the capacity for SMEs to compete domestically, nationally and internationally

• Streamline the purchasing process to reduce costs

• Increase transparency of government purchasing policies and procedures

• Review the appropriateness of preference systems and adopt a more active industry development approach

• Improve the purchasing competencies of government officers.

Mr Board said SMEs accounted for 97 per cent of non-agricultural private sector business in Australia and employed around 3.2 million.

“Many young people gain their first work experience with an SME,” he said. “Because many SMEs are family-owned businesses, their prosperity has an enormous impact on the standard of living of many Australians.

“There is no question the health of this sector is vitally important to the economic and social fabric of the nation.”

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