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Purchasing and procurement

The Department bases its purchasing and procurement policies on the PGPA Act, Commonwealth Procurement Rules and the General Procurement (Judicial Review) Act 2018.

The Corporate and Enabling Group provided specialist advice and support to all departmental areas engaged in procurement and contract management through:

  • promoting self-service, including through streamlined information, guidance and tools supported by a procurement helpdesk function
  • dedicated procurement staff to provide advice and support for approaches to market
  • developing and maintaining policy documentation and guidance
  • maintaining procurement complaint handling processes in line with the General Procurement (Judicial Review) Act 2018
  • providing comprehensive advice for high risk and/or high-value procurements and management of existing contracts
  • providing online and face-to-face training on procurement policy and contract management
  • coordinating external procurement and contract reporting
  • providing legal and probity advice
  • provision of advice on contract extension and closure activities
  • facilitating maintenance, review and update of the Contract Management Framework and associated documents, inclusive of the Contract Management Manual
  • facilitation of Community of Practice forums.

The Department publishes contract information on AusTender, the Australian Government’s tendering system, in accordance with the Commonwealth Procurement Rules.

Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) access clauses

The Department’s standard contract templates and the Commonwealth Contracting Suite include provisions allowing the Auditor-General to have access to the contractor’s premises, known as ANAO access clauses.

Exempt contracts

The Department did not have any contracts valued at $10,000 or more (inclusive of GST) or any standing offers that had been exempted by the Secretary from being published on AusTender on the basis that they would disclose exempt matters under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 for the 2019–20 financial year.

Small and medium enterprises

The Department supports small business participation in the Commonwealth Government procurement market. Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) and Small Enterprise Participation statistics are available on the Department of Finance’s website.1

We recognise the importance of ensuring that small businesses are paid on time. The results of the Survey of Australian Government Payments to Small Business are available on the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources website.2

Our procurement practices to support small to medium enterprises were consistent with Paragraph 5.5 of the Commonwealth Procurement Rules.

In 2019–20, we demonstrated our commitment through the following initiatives and practices:

  • used the Commonwealth Contracting Suite for low-risk procurements valued under $200,000
  • developed Australian Industry Participation plans in whole-of-government procurement where applicable
  • followed Small Business Engagement Principles, as outlined in the Government’s Industry Innovation and Competitiveness Agenda, including by communicating in clear, simple language and presenting information in an accessible format
  • used electronic systems or other processes to facilitate on-time payment performance, including payment cards
  • used the Commonwealth Indigenous Procurement Policy to engage businesses in the $80,000 to $200,000 (GST inclusive) mandatory procurement threshold.

Reportable Consultancy contracts

During 2019–20, 34 new consultancy contracts were entered into involving total actual expenditure of $5.1 million (GST inclusive). In addition, 44 ongoing consultancy contracts were active during the period, involving total actual expenditure of $3.0 million (GST Inclusive).

The Department's policy for selecting and engaging consultants is based on the core principle of value for money, and is conducted in accordance with the PGPA Act and the Commonwealth Procurement Rules. Decisions to procure consultancy services are made both strategically and operationally, injecting specialist skills, knowledge and independent expertise in areas outside of the Department's core business functions.

Annual reports contain information about actual expenditure on reportable consultancy contracts. Information on the value of reportable consultancy contracts is available on the AusTender website.3

Table 18 – Expenditure on reportable consultancy contracts 2019–20


Expenditure 2019–20 $

New reportable consultancy contracts entered into during 2019–20



Ongoing reportable consultancy contracts that were entered into during a previous reporting period



All reportable consultancy contracts active during 2019–20



Table 19 – Organisations receiving a share of reportable consultancy contract expenditure in 2019-20



2019–20 $



Biometix Pty Ltd


The Trustee for JWS Research Unit


Callida Pty Ltd


Ernst & Young


Advertising and market research expenditure

During 2019–20, the Department conducted the following advertising campaigns:

  • BFORT Recruitment
  • Tobacco Import Laws Campaign
  • Graduate Development Program
  • Promotion of Regional Migration
  • Anti-People Smuggling Communication Campaign.

Further information on those advertising campaigns is available on the Department’s website,4 and in the reports on Australian Government advertising prepared by the Department of Finance. Those reports are available on the Department of Finance’s website.5

The advertising and market research expenditure is outlined in Table 20.

Table 20 – Advertising and market research (current report period 2019–20)

Total amount paid against contract (GST exclusive)

Total amount paid against contract (GST inclusive)


Hall & Partners Pty Ltd



The Trustee for JWS Research Unit







Mediabrands Australia Pty Ltd







M&C Saatchi World Services



Statt Consulting Limited



Tal Group Thompson Associates






Grand Total



1 The vendors listed under Advertising Agencies are not subject to GST.

Asset management

The Department managed $3.969 billion of non-financial assets in 2019–20, an increase from the $2.660 billion in 2018–19. This increase is directly related to the implementation of AASB 16 Leases accounting standard. The Department’s main asset classes are buildings, leasehold improvements, vessels, plant and equipment, and software. These asset classes include right-of-use assets (leased assets per AASB 16 Leases). They include:

  • $848.69 million in administered non-financial assets (excluding prepayments) primarily held to support the care and management of detainees, compared to $1.037 billion in 2018–19
  • $3.011 billion in departmental non-financial assets, including $1.425 billion in buildings, $533.26 million in plant and equipment, $521.27 million in computer software supporting the Department’s operations and $295.44 million in vessels that support the ABF, but excluding prepayments, and inventories held. This compares to $1.488 billion in 2018–19.

The Department’s governance framework for managing assets to enable the accurate reporting of asset balances in the financial statements encompasses:

  • asset investment, through setting an annual capital plan that reflects both Government priorities and ongoing business requirements. The plan is regularly monitored to ensure that planned expenditure reflects the Department’s business requirements
  • monitoring existing assets
  • undertaking an annual stocktake and impairment review of non-current assets that is used to:
    • update and verify the accuracy of asset records
    • review the condition and utility of assets
    • assess expected useful lives of assets
  • conducting fair value measurement through rolling three yearly revaluations of all tangible assets, completed by qualified external valuers. A valuation review in 2019–20 resulted in a $32.8 million increase to Departmental assets and a $42.6 million decrease to Administered assets
  • maintaining property, plant and equipment assets, including those leased under contract from various service providers through specific maintenance programs.

Additional information on the value, acquisition, disposal and revaluation of assets is available in the 2019–20 financial statements in PART 4: FINANCIAL STATEMENTS of this report.

Grants program

Information on grants awarded by the Department during 2019–20 is available at GrantConnect.6

All grants awarded were consistent with the Commonwealth Grant Rules and Guidelines, available on the Department of Finance’s website.7


  1. www.finance.gov.au/government/procurement/statistics-australian-government-procurement-contracts-
  2. www.industry.gov.au/strategies-for-the-future/helping-australian-small-and-family-businesses-thrive
  3. https://www.tenders.gov.au
  4. www.homeaffairs.gov.au
  5. www.finance.gov.au
  6. www.grants.gov.au
  7. www.finance.gov.au