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$161 million spend on Aboriginal participation in whole of government contracts wins award

NSW Public Works has achieved a $161.1 million spend in social procurement through its whole of government contracts for cleaning, maintenance and security.

The spend, from July 2018 to June 2022, included $52.3 million in the cleaning sector, $70 million in the maintenance sector and $38.8 million in the security sector.

The $161.1 million represents direct employment, subcontracting or purchases with Aboriginal employees or certified Aboriginal businesses.

“This is a huge achievement, up from $40 million social procurement spend in the previous whole of government contracts (2011-2018),” said NSW Public Works Director Facilities Management Helen Carroll.

“This spend increases opportunities for businesses and workers to drive increased employment opportunities for Aboriginal people.”

The outcome has been widely applauded, including by the NSW Indigenous Chamber of Commerce (NSWICC).

“We recognise the broader facilities management category as a growth sector for Aboriginal businesses nationally,” said NSWICC Chief Executive Officer Debbie Barwick, “and we applaud this evolved approach to the whole-of-government contracts, creating a sustainable pathway for the capacity and capability growth of our member businesses.”

Thinking differently

In 2017, NSW Public Works developed and refined its approach for driving Aboriginal participation in the whole of government contracts.

This was to prepare for the launch of NSW Public Works new whole of government contracts for maintenance (starting in 2018), cleaning (starting in 2019) and security contract (starting in 2020).

The contracts provide cleaning, maintenance and security to more than 4,300 government buildings.

“NSW Public Works consulted with NSWICC and Supply Nation to listen and learn about their needs and how we could support them,” said NSW Public Works Senior Manager Whole of Government Contracts Jason Elderhurst.

“Together, we came up with the idea of creating a proforma template with step-by-step guidance on the procurement process. Providing this extra information assured the success of the program. We co-presented with NSWICC to hundreds of people at industry events, reinforcing the importance of listening and engaging with Indigenous bodies.”

All NSW Government agencies, and our agency partners who leverage NSW Public Works’ whole of government contracts, work to deliver the Aboriginal Procurement Policy, which targets the award of three percent of goods and services contracts to Aboriginal businesses.

“We customised our implementation of the policy for the whole of government contracts,” said Mr. Elderhurst.

A major change was including a stretch target component for Aboriginal participation in the new whole of government contracts.

“Why limit the market to only do three percent when they could do 10 or 20 percent?” he said. “The stretch targets meant that suppliers weren’t penalised for trying and it had great results.”

Some contractors achieved between 10 and 30 percent Aboriginal participation across pockets of metro and regional NSW.

“This will create lasting legacies for Aboriginal people and communities while increasing culture capacity and social value,” said Mr. Elderhurst.

In addition, the contracts included a mandatory minimum target component that climbed each year.

“The target increased from 1.5 percent (year 1) to 4 percent (year 4 onwards), enabling suppliers to build their capability over time. The targets were linked to a contractor’s key performance indicators, providing a strong incentive to achieve them.”

NSWICC Award - NSW Public Works

Award winning effort

These efforts earned NSW Public Works the Government Agency of the Year Award at the 2022 NSWICC Infrastructure and Construction Forum Awards on 8 November 2022. NSW Public Works was nominated for the award by NSW Procurement.

“The award recognises government departments and/or agencies that have demonstrated commitment, leadership and/or innovation in implementation of the NSW Aboriginal Procurement Policy,” said NSW Procurement Acting Director of Policy Emma Cooper.

NSW Procurement Associate Director Policy Jeff Nelson congratulated NSW Public Works on a “great piece of work.” “A huge shoutout to Jason [Elderhurst] for his mastery and drive for his team to deliver such a big return.”

“NSW Public Works’ bespoke approach to market has driven successful outcomes beyond first imagining and which continue to be achieved.”

At the awards ceremony, Amrish Patel and Andrew Hogg accepted the award for NSW Public Works along with Ash Albury of Regional NSW.

“Hearing how much these opportunities means not only to their businesses, but their people and families really hits home on the real wins these initiatives achieved,” said NSW Public Works Senior Manager Facilities Management Andrew Hogg of attending the awards night.

NSW Public Works remains committed to continue this important work.

“It has been a long-term and sustained effort from 2017 to today,” said Mr. Elderhurst. “We will continue working closely with NSWICC to develop, support and drive meaningful outcomes for the Aboriginal business sector.”

NSWICC - Government Agency of the Year Award
NSW Indigenous Chamber of Commerce Award - Government Agency of the year with Ash Albury, Andrew Hogg and Amrish Patel