Aboriginal businesses supplying to government

How to find opportunities, promote your business and get support when looking for government work as an Aboriginal business.
Last updated:

The Social Procurement team within the Department of Finance provides support and advice to Aboriginal businesses looking to work with WA Government agencies. They also host the Aboriginal Business Expo to encourage networking between businesses and agencies.

How does the WA Government buy?

Government buys differently depending on whether we are buying goods and services, community services or works (construction services). 

Goods and services

If you supply goods or services, for example, stationery or consulting services, you need to follow a certain process.

Community services

If your organisation provides services to meet a community need, for example, financial counselling services, you need to be familiar with how agencies buy from the community services sector.

In WA, ‘works’ refers to all services related to building and construction, maintenance and government office fit outs. Supplying to Government - Supplying works provides information about the main agencies that are buying building and construction services. These agencies specialise in particular types of building or construction work, which may have different requirements and processes depending on the type of work.

We manage building projects including schools, hospitals and prisons. We also manage maintenance works for several other agencies. Supplying Department of Finance works-related services takes you through the journey of contracting on Department of Finance works projects.

Finding opportunities, identifying government buyers and marketing yourself

Knowing where to look, and targeting the way you market your business to government, will improve your chances of contracting with the Western Australian Government.

Finding opportunities

Tenders WA is a great place to start when researching opportunities to tender. Using Tenders WA you can:

Agencies must publish details of tenders valued $250,000 and above on Tenders WA.

For opportunities under $250,000 agencies invite suppliers to quote, or directly engage a supplier. It is important to effectively market your business so that you're on the buyers' radars and can be considered for these lower value opportunities.

Although these opportunities may not be advertised on Tenders WA, agencies must publish details of all their awarded contracts valued $50,000 and above on Tenders WA.

Researching awarded contracts is a useful way of identifying:

  • which agencies have requirements that align with what your business offers
  • if agencies have contracts expiring soon which may represent upcoming opportunities
  • who the head contractor is on major contracts for subcontracting opportunities.

Identifying the right buyers

The WA Government is made up of 130 agencies, so you will need to target agencies that are buying what your organisation has to offer. The Who Buys What and How (WBWH) report and the Strategic Forward Procurement Plan (SFPP) – Public Report are good places to start.

The WBWH report shows what State agencies have purchased in the last financial year, which industries they have contracts in, and the value of those contracts. 

The SFPP contains data on upcoming procurements, including goods, services, community services and works procurements, valued at $250,000 and above that are planned by Government agencies across the next two financial years.

If you’re interested in targeting an agency, you can see contact details listed on the Government Purchasing Officers List or there is an agency contact available in the SFPP report for each listed planned procurement. Aboriginal Suppliers are encouraged to identify relevant procurements and reach out to discuss potential tendering opportunities.

Opportunities in the regions

If your business is in a regional area, Local Content Advisors are well informed about their region and can help you find opportunities.

The Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation runs a series of Communication Forums each year to provide small to medium-sized businesses opportunities to hear about local contract opportunities in each region. Information about the forums is regularly updated on the Industry Link events page.

Promoting your business to government

When a procurement officer is beginning to research the market, they will usually begin this search with desktop research.

For WA Government to directly engage your business, your business needs to be registered on the Aboriginal Business Directory WA or Supply Nation’s Indigenous Business Direct.

Registration on each of the directories is free. As these directories will be one of the first places a government buyer will look for an Aboriginal business, make sure your listing is accurate and your business website is up to date. If your business uses Facebook or another social media page, government agencies may not be able to access it due to IT restrictions.

The Council of Aboriginal Services Western Australia (CASWA) has a list of ACCOs on their website. Listing your ACCO with CASWA is one way to make your ACCO better known to State agencies searching to tender with an ACCO.

Finding subcontracting opportunities on government projects

From 1 January 2022, suppliers on certain government contracts will need to meet either an Aboriginal employment target or an Aboriginal business subcontracting target. As a result, it is expected that there will be more opportunities for Aboriginal businesses to find subcontracting opportunities on government contracts.

Using Tenders WA

Tenders WA is a good place to start to identify opportunities. You will be able to see who has been awarded major contracts in the sectors that your business operates and contact them for potential subcontracting opportunities.

On some works contracts, the agency may make information available regarding which businesses have downloaded the specification documents. This gives a good indication of the businesses that are likely to submit an offer for the work and includes contact details to allow you to approach them regarding potential opportunities.

Aboriginal Procurement Policy (APP)

The Aboriginal Procurement Policy (APP) was introduced in 2018 and sets progressive targets for agencies to increase their contracting with Aboriginal businesses. The policy requires agencies to award a percentage of their contracts to registered Aboriginal businesses according to the following targets for each financial year:

  • 2020–21: 3 per cent
  • 2022–23: 3.5 per cent
  • 2023–24: 4 per cent

The APP applies to all goods, services, community services and works procurement valued over $50,000.

From 1 January 2022, suppliers on certain contracts will need to meet Aboriginal participation targets, either an Aboriginal business subcontracting target or an Aboriginal employment target. Contracts valued at $5 million or above in construction, community services, education and training or public administration will include these targets.

The performance outcomes of each financial year are published on APP Performance Reports.

Agency initiatives to support contracting with Aboriginal businesses

Policies, direct purchasing, employment targets and tendering preferences are some of the initiatives agencies have to support increased engagement of Aboriginal businesses.

Direct purchasing from an Aboriginal business

Under the Procurement Rules, WA Government agencies can tender directly with Aboriginal businesses. Businesses need to show they are a value for money option and that they have the required capacity and capability to fulfil the contract. Businesses need to be registered on Aboriginal Business Directory WA or Supply Nation’s Indigenous Business Direct.

Agency specific initiatives

Some WA Government agencies may also have their own policies and initiatives to support procurement with Aboriginal businesses. You should contact agencies you are interested in contracting with to find out further information.

Aboriginal business and employment tendering preferences

The Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions, Department of Communities and the Department of Finance (Building Management and Works) apply a price preference to offers from Aboriginal businesses on all works projects. This means that offers are evaluated as though they have been reduced by a set amount, typically 10 per cent, which can make your pricing more competitive compared to other businesses.

The price preference also applies to the portion of a contract a supplier proposes to subcontract to an Aboriginal business, or the employment of Aboriginal persons.

Aboriginal participation plans

Some WA Government agencies require suppliers to complete an Aboriginal participation plan as part of the tender document, outlining how the supplier will engage or employ Aboriginal people or businesses throughout the contract. If this is required, it will be stated in the Request document.

Aboriginal employment targets

Main Roads and Department of Communities set targets for Aboriginal employment on certain contracts. The targets vary by region and what the contract is for.

Aboriginal businesses should contact each of these departments for more information.

Prequalification upgrade for Aboriginal businesses

The Department of Finance allows Aboriginal businesses that are prequalified under the Builders Prequalification Scheme to apply for an upgrade to their prequalification level that allows them to tender for a contract that they would not normally be able to.

Panel membership

Aboriginal businesses can apply to join the following Department of Finance non-residential works panels to qualify for consultancy work

Businesses wanting to do work in regional Western Australia are also encouraged to join the Department of Finance’s Service Alliance 2012

Support services for Aboriginal businesses

There are providers of finance and economic support, training and capability building as well as business support across Western Australia.

Finance and economic support providers

Indigenous Land and Sea Corporation

National Indigenous Australians Agency

Indigenous Tourism Fund includes business support, grants, and complementary programs for Aboriginal-owned tourism businesses, targeting Aboriginal businesses Australia-wide with no associated costs.

Many Rivers

Provides finance options to enable clients to start businesses.

Training, mentoring and capability building

Small Business Development Corporation (SBDC)

The SBDC is a WA Government agency dedicated to supporting WA small businesses to start, grow and thrive through a range of services including a free business advisory service and dispute resolution service, business skills workshops, free resources and more.

The SBDC extends these services in regional Western Australia via their Business Local network of providers.

 www.smallbusiness.wa.gov.au  Tel: 133 140

Business Foundations

Business Foundations delivers the Australian Government’s Self-Employment Assistance which provides tailored support for participants looking to establish and run their very own successful small business, and assistance for existing business owners to support a successful venture.

Aboriginal Business Capability Building Contract (ABCB)

The Department of Finance has appointed 2 suppliers to provide business capability building services to Aboriginal businesses.  

These providers offer individualised support services in relation to: 

  • tendering skills,
  • business development,
  • internal governance, and
  • contractual compliance requirements.

Servicing the Kimberley and Pilbara regions. 

+61 8 9193 5570 
info@morrgul.com.au 

Servicing the Mid West, Gascoyne, Goldfields-Esperance, Wheatbelt, South West and Great Southern regions. 

1300 275 477 
projects@ipsau.com.au 

Brokering and connecting services

ABDWA

Provides an opportunity for Aboriginal businesses to list their business in an accessible location for government buyers. There is no cost for Aboriginal businesses to register.

Supply Nation

Facilitate connections between Aboriginal businesses and members in procurement departments. There is no cost for Aboriginal businesses to register..

Regional Chambers of Commerce and Industry

The Chambers provide networking opportunities and events for regional WA businesses. There are annual membership fees and costs associated with some events.

Waalitj Hub

Waalitj Hub provides support to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people wanting to start, grow or sustain a business in Western Australia.

Organisations providing multiple types of support

Indigenous Business Australia

Provides Aboriginal businesses across Australia with:

Provides local and small businesses:

  • Local Capability Fund
    • funding support for small and local businesses to enhance their capacity, capability and competitiveness.
  • Events
    • including regional communications forum to connect local businesses with upcoming opportunities.

Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Western Australia

Provides WA businesses:

Noongar Chamber of Commerce

Provides Aboriginal businesses in the South West:

  • secretarial support services
  • capacity building, networking and training.

There are membership fees and costs associated with training.

Announcements