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Purchasing

As a non-corporate Commonwealth entity, our purchasing and procurement policies and practices are consistent with:

  • all relevant Commonwealth legislation
  • the Australian Government financial framework, including the Commonwealth Procurement Rules
  • the Accountable Authority Instructions and relevant agency policies, and
  • all connected policies including the Indigenous Procurement Policy.

All open tender opportunities of $80,000 and above (inclusive of GST) are advertised on the www.tenders.gov.au. We review of all procurements of $10,000 and above (inclusive of GST) to ensure they are completed in accordance with the procurement framework.

Our tender evaluation processes are designed to be fair and equitable and to enable potential suppliers to compete for our business. Before proceeding to a substantive evaluation, we check against all mandatory requirements listed in the tender documentation.

Our procurement methods aim not to discriminate against small and medium-sized enterprises.

Our Annual Procurement Plan is available on the AusTender website and is updated as required. This gives prospective suppliers the opportunity to prepare for potential work with our agency.

Consultants

We engage consultants through fair and equitable processes, selecting multiple providers through panel or open tender processes and conducting a value for money assessment. We conduct all procurement activities in accordance with policies, regulations and legislative requirements. We procure consultancy services to undertake a variety of tasks, with the contracted consultants engaged to apply professional, independent and expert skill to:

  • investigate or diagnose a defined issue or problem
  • provide independent advice, information or creative solutions, and
  • provide specialised services, including assistance with asset valuations, probity services and legal advice.

During 2019–20, eight new consultancy contracts were entered into involving total actual expenditure of $834,481 (inclusive of GST). In addition, one ongoing consultancy contracts was active during the period, involving total actual expenditure of $37,730 (inclusive of GST).

All consultancy contracts valued at $10,000 (inclusive of GST) or more awarded in 2019–20 are published on the AusTender website. Annual reports contain information about actual expenditure on contracts for consultancies. Information on the value of individual contracts for consultancies is available on the AusTender website.

Australian National Audit Office access clauses

All contracts of $100,000 (inclusive of GST) or more awarded during 2019–20 included a provision for the Auditor-General to have access to the contractor’s premises.

Exempt contracts

In 2019–20, the Chair did not exempt any standing offer or contract in excess of $10,000 (inclusive of GST) from being published on the AusTender website. Emissions Reduction Fund carbon abatement contracts are exempt.

Procurement initiatives to support small business

We support small business participation in the Commonwealth Government procurement market. Small and medium enterprises and small enterprise participation statistics are available on the Department of Finance website.

Consistent with paragraph 5.4 of the Commonwealth Procurement Rules, we use the following initiatives and practices to support small and medium enterprises:

  • the Commonwealth Contracting Suite for low-risk procurements valued under $200,000 (inclusive of GST)
  • Australian Industry Participation Plans in whole-of-government procurement where applicable
  • the Small Business Engagement Principles (outlined in the Government’s Industry Innovation and Competitiveness Agenda), such as communicating in clear, simple language and presenting information in an accessible format, and
  • electronic systems or other processes used to facilitate on-time payment performance, including the use of payment cards.

We comply with the requirements set out in the Indigenous Procurement Policy. In 2019-20 we entered into three contracts and nil sub-contracting arrangements for the supply of goods and services from Indigenous suppliers.

Advertising and market research

We did not undertake any market research or advertising campaigns in 2019–20. Our expenditure on advertising was under the reportable threshold of $13,000.

Legal expenditure

Paragraph 11.1(ba) of the Legal Services Directions 2005 requires all non-corporate Commonwealth entities regulated by the PGPA Act to publicly report their legal services expenditure (Table 19).

Table 19: Legal services expenditure summary, 2019–20

Description

Amount
GST exclusive

Total (external + internal) expenditure

$2,022,794

Total internal legal services expenditure

$1,811,315

Total external legal services expenditure

$211,479

Summary external legal services

Total value of brief to counsel (junior) (A)

$13,284

Total value of disbursements (excluding counsel) (B)

$0

Total value of professional fees paid (C)

$198,195

Total external legal services expenditure (A + B + C)

$211,479

Senior counsel

Number of direct briefs to male senior counsel

0

Number of direct briefs to female senior counsel

0

Total number of direct briefs to senior counsel

0

Number of indirect briefs to male senior counsel

0

Number of indirect briefs to female senior counsel

0

Total number of indirect briefs to senior counsel

0

Junior counsel

Number of direct briefs to male junior counsel

1

Number of direct briefs to female junior counsel

0

Total number of direct briefs to junior counsel

1

Number of indirect briefs to male junior counsel

2

Number of indirect briefs to female junior counsel

0

Total number of indirect briefs to junior counsel

2

Total value of briefs to junior counsel (A)

$13,284

Disbursements

Total value of disbursements (excluding counsel) (B)

$0

Professional fees

Total value of professional fees

$198,195