Buy Australia Plan: Govt starts by looking within


Joseph Brookes
Senior Reporter

The Centre of Procurement Excellence established in 2019 has moved into a new “Future Made in Australia Office” within the Finance department, as the Albanese government looks to get its sovereign procurement plan moving.

The early focus will be on lifting the Australian Public Service’s procurement and contract management capabilities with training after many were exposed by damning external audits.

The new office to lead the change is part of the government’s Made in Australia Policy and Buy Australian Plan to more strategically use the tens of billions of dollars of taxpayers’ money spent each year in government purchases.

Canberra Parliament

Despite not receiving any new funding to implement the plan or establish the Future Made in Australia Office, it has been tasked with a significant reform package, the Finance department told the current Parliamentary inquiry into Commonwealth procurement.

“The [Buy Australian] Plan is a significant procurement reform program which aims to make it easier to do business with the Australian Government by breaking down barriers, increasing the capability of businesses to submit competitive tenders, and supporting the Australian Public Service (APS) to better engage with industry and ensure Government procurement supports the local economy,” Finance’s submission said.

“…The [Future Made in Australia] Office, as part of implementing the Plan, will elevate procurement and contract management capability through continuous capability improvement and modernised training delivery.”

The procurement inquiry has been set up in response to several damning audits of large government buying programs. It has already revealed the Industry department may now need to compensate tenderers that missed out on its flagship program, while the Digital Transformation Agency is retroactively reviewing its major procurements after a particularly scathing review.

The Finance department – the policy steward of the Commonwealth Procurement Framework  — told the inquiry its new Future Made in Australia Office “will elevate procurement and contract management capability through continuous capability improvement and modernised training delivery”.

In line with this, the Centre of Procurement Excellence has been moved into the Office.

Established in 2019, the centre’s focus is on building this procurement capability, encouraging innovation and strengthening partnerships with buyers. It also conducts APS self-assessment surveys, and highlights excellence with an annual awards event.

In last month’s budget, it was confirmed the Future Made in Australia Office is up and running to coordinate the Buy Australian Plan, but the cost of implementing the plan is to be met with existing resources of the lead entity the Finance department and the Industry department.

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2 Comments
  1. Digital Koolaid 2 weeks ago
    Reply

    The The Buy Australian Plan (hxxps://www.finance.gov.au/business/buyaustralianplan) looks like a page of motherhood statements. It starts with the words “The Buy Australian Plan WILL (my emphasis) improve the way government contracts work” when there’s no certainty of that at all. It’s actually just a hope. Have a look for yourself. You’ll see this sort of silly statement – “more government work for more small and medium businesses by decoding and simplifying procurement processes”, when processes have nothing to do with it. The problem is the APS procurement staff. They will buy AWS, Microsoft, SAP, IBM ($2 Billion on them alone?). This sort of tripe – “continuous capability improvement and modernised training delivery” – well change nothing. Big4 consultants, huge foreign corporations and WoG contracts. There’s a mess to fix here, and the BAP / FMAO haven’t spotted it yet. Probably won’t.

    • Andrea M. KOCH 2 weeks ago
      Reply

      Yep, a step in the right direction? I agree with the observation made in the prior post. The problem is not just our governmental “cultural cringe.”
      Crisis: I have planned a perfect infrastructure response to the all-important grid stability (which will facilitate domestic and commercial electricity prices to pummel). It uses, appropriate location, and is an eminently doable 100% renewable storage “hydro from hell.” Planned advantages mean it is independently scalable and can be started up ALMOST as quickly as necessary. So much more…………….
      I appreciate that planning most infrastructure is also a national security issue, as we are increasingly today finding out. We need our highly accountable local companies empowered and have the means to step up to their potential.
      Yet I too, can’t find ANY assistance. Soul destroying, this lack of faith in fellow Australians with real local expertise and smarts. The innovation hubs are a joke and possibly something much worse. Smart creatives do not like being handled by an office junior recruit throwing their “weight” around because micro soft comes-a-calln’, (Lot 14 !$ taking over North Terrace). They are unlikely to appreciate that for the sake of fanciful perceived largess – they are in fact selling the farm. Lots more to be examined.

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